Phil Ruffin to work out deal with MLB's Oakland Athletics this week, per report
August 3, 2022
Billionaire and casino owner Phil Ruffin will reportedly fly to Northern California this Tuesday to work out a deal with Major League Baseball team the Oakland Athletics regarding their move to Las Vegas. The team is known to have been involved in negotiations with owners of multiple sites on the Strip to build a 30,000-seat stadium.
The Athletics' relocation plan hit major news headlines after the team reportedly scouted four undisclosed sites across Sin City earlier this year for the construction of a $1 billion ballpark. The number of preferred sites shrank to two, and reports suggest that the mystery site is located near Ruffin's Circus Circus Hotel & Casino — and right next to it is the 37-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds, which is also owned by the businessman.
The owner has been actively engaged in Circus Circus's revitalization plan after it was bested by Caesars and MGM due to its outdated concept. Reportedly, Ruffin's agenda is to coax the A's to come and build their sporting facilities on the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, as the area is more than enough to fulfil the team's initial construction plan of multiple facilities in Oakland, which comprises a stadium, hotels, residences, and retail space.
Oakland president Dave Kaval has confirmed the club's interest in the fairgrounds site, indicating that Ruffin's visit has serious business and partnership implications.
A's in Sin City
The story is still evolving, and most available information at hand is based on insider information. Despite this, the A's location scouting earlier this year was much more than a coincidence with the team's plan to move to Las Vegas.
In addition to that, Ruffin's trip to Northern California this week came only a month after the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted for the massive redevelopment of a 56-acre terminal at the Port of Oakland, which also includes a new stadium for the team. This means the franchise could remain posted in the city it has called home for over 50 years.
Ruffin's business trip could keep the scenario above from happening. This is crucial for Las Vegas as from a sporting and entertainment standing point, Sin City lacks a major MLB team, and the city's dream of landing one would be thrown in the bin if the casino owner's sweet talks failed. Presently, the only baseball team it has is a minor affiliate of the MLB, the Triple-A team Las Vegas Aviators.
As implied above, Ruffin is likely to find fierce competition. Particularly from the city of Oakland, as allowing the A's to relocate to Las Vegas means that city will lose its third major sporting franchise.
In 1962, Oakland had witnessed the departure of NBA's Golden State Warriors to the neighboring city of San Francisco and most recently, the now NFL's Las Vegas Raiders was also an Oakland-based franchise until the team parted ways in January 2020.
Having the Athletics in Las Vegas is not too far-fetched of an idea, but seeing that it is now the only major MLB team in Oakland, releasing it seems out of the question for the city.