A’s ‘not likely’ to hit public funding cap with Las Vegas ballpark, says people who are new at this

We’re gonna need some better journalism than this.

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Good news, everyone! The CEO and President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said that the A’s aren’t likely to use all $380 million in public funds that they’ve been allotted for a new ballpark in Vegas. The Las Vegas Review-Journal relayed the news in the way only an outlet that regurgitates authority figures without checking them can: by quoting them extensively and never raising an eyebrow about it.

Instead, the team is likely to use around $340 million toward constructing a 30,000-seat, retractable roof stadium on 9 acres of land at the Tropicana site, according to Steve Hill, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO and President.

“It’s capped at $380 million, but it’s almost certainly not going to get to $380 million,” Hill, who also serves as chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The funding basically breaks down three ways, Hill said.

The state will contribute $180 million in transferable tax credits, of which up to $120 million could be repaid via the tax revenue generated at the ballpark site.

Clark County will contribute $25 million that would go toward infrastructure upgrades needed around the site, and finally Hill thinks $120-$135 million would derive from various taxes generated at the stadium site, but that number could grow if interest rates drastially [sic] change.

In a completely unrelated story, do you remember when Neil deMause over at Field of Schemes published a piece headlined, “Vegas A’s stadium could cost public $500m+ counting property tax breaks and hidden renovation fund”? Or when the A’s balked at the city of Oakland offering $495 million in public money because what they wanted was $855 million and an exemption from state affordable housing requirements (which the A’s presence on the land they wanted to build the stadium complex on would have triggered, since housing could have gone there instead)? The same A’s that are moving to Vegas either because they overestimated how much patience Oakland had left or because owner John Fisher’s ego wants to go somewhere where he’ll be considered a god-king instead of someone who needs to be deposed? That team is only going to use up $340 million of the $380 million they’ve been allotted?

Not convinced of the absurdity of this yet? This is also the team that has an outstanding grievance out against them courtesy the MLB Players Association for not spending revenue-sharing dollars, the franchise that has annoyed the other owners enough that they broke their uniform silence — anonymously, yes, but still — to publicly whine about how the A’s lack of spending and their refusal to use revenue-sharing dollars as they were meant to be used is a problem? Do you know how much of a money-grubbing all-star you need to be for other Major League Baseball owners to say, “hey maybe you should tone it down a little”?

Oh, sorry, my bad, the Las Vegas Review-Journal also included a graphic to explain how the A’s will leave $40 million on the table. Please ignore everything I said above.

A graphic that breaks down how the $340-380 million in public funding will be spent, but don't worry, none of this matters.

Even if they “just” go to $340 million of the taxpayer funds allotted to them, it would solely be so that the A’s could say, “now see, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” before then spending another $150 million via loopholes and such. And the $500 million-plus cited above? That’s more like $600 million now, since there’s an “entertainment tax” break in the now-finalized deal.

Regardless of how high the real number goes, we’re not even going to have to worry about that “not spending $40 million” bit, anyway, since the A’s need to come up with $1.1 billion on their own in order to get this thing built. How will they do that? I know Fisher has been pocketing a lot of money over the years, but he did that so as to not spend it. Just the fact that we don’t even know where he’ll get the money to pay for the rest of this is evidence enough that he’s not going to be leaving any money on the table. Sure, $40 million is a drop of water in an ocean of coming debt, but again: no one — no one — is as cheap as the A’s. We’ve all seen the lunches they provided for minor leaguers, there’s no way you’ll convince me they’re not spending every public dollar they’re allowed to and then a whole bunch more your average fan isn’t aware they can loophole their way into spending, too.

Anyway, hopefully there’s some more rigorous journalism coming out of Nevada against the A’s stadium deal in the near future, or else any hope of it stopping via referendum is nonexistent.

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