What economic experts predict for Athletics’ upcoming move to Las Vegas – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

As the athletic clubs prepare to leave Oakland for a temporary home in Sacramento while their new ballpark on the Las Vegas strip is built, many economic experts have predicted whether the new stadium will even happen.

In an exclusive interview, John Shea of ​​The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed several experts, many of whom believe it will be difficult for A’s owner John Fisher to secure the financing needed for the new ballpark expected to open in Las Vegas for the start of the 2028 MLB season.

Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist and professor at Smith College in Massachusetts, expressed skepticism that Fisher could make the temporary move to Sacramento and then move to Nevada.

“I don’t see this as a promising project at all. There are tremendous challenges ahead for the A’s,” Zimbalist told Shea. ‘Fisher has not endeared himself to anyone in this process. If they go ahead with the plan to play in Sacramento for three years, it will be a major economic blow to him as well. I think it’s difficult. If I had to make a prediction, Las Vegas is not going to happen.”

Zimbalist explained to Shea that the way modern ballparks are financed will make it challenging for someone like Fisher to secure the right financing, even if he has to dip into his family’s deep pockets.

“I think it’s going to be tough,” Zimbalist told Shea. “The way modern stadiums are financed today is through collateral and real estate deals where the owner puts up a certain amount of money for the stadium and in return receives development rights around the stadium, sometimes well below the market value for the stadium. land, as well as tax abatements to incentivize investments that will be made for mixed-use development around the ballpark.

“The problem in Las Vegas is there’s no land nearby to develop on the Strip, and they don’t know where to park. It is a very busy area. I don’t see how it happens on this site.”

Still, there are plenty of other people who believe Fisher will have enough money to finance the construction of his $1.5 billion stadium, in addition to the $380 million he would receive from the state of Nevada. Former A-owner Lew Wolff told Shea he sees no problems with Fisher and the new stadium project.

“John would not take on any activity that he was not financially able to do and was not enthusiastic about,” Wolff told Shea. “I have been involved with John and his family for decades and have never encountered a venture that they undertook without the commitment and ability to execute.”

Oakland fans have been voicing their displeasure with the Fisher regime for years, with recent actions including a reverse boycott of an A’s home game and signs/shirts asking him to sell the team.

After a series of failed negotiations with the city of Oakland earlier this year, Fisher announced the team would leave the Coliseum after the 2024 season to play three seasons at Dignity Health Park in West Sacramento while the Las Vegas ballpark is built.