A’s-to-Vegas deal stalls on final day of 2023 Nevada legislation session

Oakland baseball ain’t dead. Not yet, anyways. 

In the latest chapter of what’s been a wild decades-long saga, A’s fans were locked into Twitter on Monday night as the clock approached midnight. It marked the final day of the 2023 Nevada State legislature as the A’s tried to ram through Senate Bill 509 (SB509), which would lay the framework for a new 30,000-seat ballpark on The Strip in Vegas. The clock hit 12:00 without a deal.

This was a significant deadline for the A’s and their lobbyists to get legislation passed this year. MLB has threatened to take Oakland off of revenue sharing by Jan. 15, 2024 if the A’s don’t have a stadium deal figured out by then.

The Nevada state legislature only meets in 120-day windows every two years, but calls for special sessions when there is unfinished business. Gov. Joe Lombardo called for a special session Tuesday morning to figure out more legislation, but SB509 won’t be part of the agenda, as Jaclyn Schultz of FOX5 in Las Vegas reported at 2:44 a.m. PT.

So, is the ballpark dead?

Tabitha Mueller of the Nevada Independent replied to a couple of A’s fans via Twitter and it sounds like a separate special session is still a possibility.

It’s not unheard of for Nevada to call a second special session in the same year, as it occurred in 2020, 2008 and 2003. Nevada also called an off-year special session in 2016 to approve the Allegiant Stadium deal for the Raiders.

Shortly before midnight, Mueller reported that the bill got stuck with the Senate Finance committee. As Schultz detailed, there are still a bunch of hurdles the bill has to make it through.

“To advance, The ballpark bill needs (among other things) committee work session, 2nd Senate reading, Senate passage, an Assembly committee hearing, and Assembly passage,” Schultz tweeted.

Essentially, the bill doesn’t appear to have advanced past Monday’s initial joint hearing – which was the only formal, public discussion on SB509 this session.

For now, the franchise’s best chance to get a deal done by the Jan. 15 deadline might be with Oakland.

The City of Oakland recently updated its Howard Terminal FAQ with some pointed language and appears to have gained leverage in its negotiation stance. Mayor Sheng Thao has said Oakland will come back to the table if the A’s are willing.

But that’s the $6 billion question – can owner John Fisher even fund his waterfront ballpark vision that was proposed on the term sheet? If not, will he finally lose the support of his fellow owners/MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and be forced to sell? Or will the dropping Gap stock price force his hand?

This never-ending saga is about to get a whole lot more interesting – and the fan-fueled June 13 Reverse Boycott game at the Oakland Coliseum has the chance to be an epic night for The Town. Things are always in flux with this situation, but the pendulum looks like it’s swinging back toward Oakland’s favor.