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Lack of A’s stadium designs is stalling plans for MGM Grand renovations

MGM’s CEO says he’s seen “three versions” of the stadium. Also, A’s meet with Oakland leaders about playing beyond 2024 at the Coliseum.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
A's stadiumEconomyGamingSports

Remodeling plans for MGM Grand Las Vegas await the final designs for a 33,000-seat baseball stadium to house the relocated Oakland Athletics across the street.

MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle said Tuesday he’s “been shown three versions of [the stadium] in terms of where it will actually sit on the site” that currently houses the Tropicana Las Vegas.

In response to a question during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference, Hornbuckle said the lack of clarity has slowed MGM’s plans to remodel the primary entrance to MGM Grand. He said the idea is to provide a connection between the pedestrian entrance to the $1.5 billion Major League Baseball stadium and the 30-year-old resort.

“We're waiting to see where that lands. I have to believe, in the next 30 to 60 days, we should find out more,” Hornbuckle said. 

On Thursday, A’s representatives met with the leadership from the city of Oakland and Alameda County to discuss extending the team’s contract at the Oakland Coliseum, which expires after this season which begins March 28. The A’s explored opportunities in Salt Lake City and Sacramento to play the 2025 through 2027 seasons until the Las Vegas ballpark is ready in April 2028. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, by staying at the Coliseum, the A’s would remain in their market and continue receiving regional-sports-network checks, per their contract with NBC Sports California, which amounted to $67 million last year. That deal runs through 2034.

“We had a positive meeting with the City and County. We look forward to further discussions regarding a lease extension at the Coliseum for the interim period before the Vegas ballpark opens,” an A’s spokesperson said in an email.

Analysts have said MGM Resorts would be the largest beneficiary from a stadium on the Strip, given the ballpark is surrounded by five of the company’s resorts totaling more than 13,000 rooms. MGM representatives lobbied during last year’s special legislative session, encouraging lawmakers to approve a $380 million public financing package for the ballpark construction. An amendment tied the legislation to the Tropicana site.

Bally’s Corp., which operates the Tropicana, said last month it would close the 67-year-old resort April 2 to prepare the 1,500-room structure for demolition later this year. Tropicana officials filed a letter Jan. 29 with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, telling the state that 744 workers would be laid off.

MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle during a keynote interview at G2E in Las Vegas on Oct. 10, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

In November, Hornbuckle said he met with A’s executives and team owner John Fisher and was shown new designs for the stadium, which, he said at the time, were “spectacular.” The designs were different from the renderings the team provided to lawmakers and the media in late May and have since been discounted by the team as unrealistic.

Hornbuckle said Tuesday the stadium’s location will allow the company to plan out its reinvestment into MGM Grand, which he called “our brand. It’s our namesake.”

He said the property’s front entrance along the Strip “needs some attention and some reprogramming.” Hornbuckle said once the stadium designs are settled, “we'll get serious about what we might want to do.”

At the Preview Las Vegas 2024 event last month, Fisher said the A’s asked Tropicana operators Bally’s Corp. and Gaming and Leisure Properties — which owns the 35 acres — to offer conceptual designs of how a new hotel, casino and entertainment attraction would fit on the site in conjunction with the ballpark.

The A’s delayed an announced December event to unveil the renderings and team President Dave Kaval said the team hoped to have the renderings available when the A’s play the Milwaukee Brewers at Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin for two spring training games March 8-9.


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