A month ago today, the Oakland Athletics were scheduled to reveal their proposed new ballpark for the Tropicana site in Las Vegas. The team cancelled the event shortly after they announced the reveal, allegedly due to the death of two Nevada state troopers who were killed in the line of duty.
Since then, there has been complete silence from owner John Fisher and the organization about the new ballpark. No statements, no rescheduled announcement, nothing.
There have been a number of speculations about why the A's have backed off but the primary reasoning provided by a number of outlets in the past couple weeks is that Fisher and the A's don't have the financing required for the project.
As it stands, the Nevada legislature has allocated $380 million to the A's stadium project. That figure remains in question due to Schools Over Stadiums attempt to move the public funding to a ballot referendum. That would take the decision out of the hands of the legislature and put it in the hands of the voters, where it would surely be rescinded.
The total cost of the project as of now is estimated to be $1.5 billion, meaning Fisher will be on the hook to finance roughly $1.1 billion privately. Assuming that Fisher is telling the truth (which I would venture to guess that he doesn't typically do so) about the A's losing $40 million per year, that's not a very good position for Fisher to be in. Claiming to be millions of dollars underwater and also asking for a prime rate on a $1.2 billion loan - those things don't quite add up.
Todd Saran of the Oakland 68's had a poignant thread about the issue. As he points out, Fisher has already had to sell stock in the GAP in order to finance a $45 million payment on the Coliseum site. It's unlikely he has enough cash on hand to secure a prime rate on a large loan and is unwilling to give up a requisite bit of equity in the Athletics organization to entice investors.
And an important piece to remember is that Fisher is supposed to have a stadium deal in place by Jan 15th in order to continue to receive his portion of MLB revenue sharing. Whether MLB has determined if their current position is good enough is unclear but if you'd ask any level-headed MLB fan, they'd say that the Athletics don't have a deal in place; they just have approval from the league to move forward with the relocation process.
All in all, this entire process has turned into a complete mess. We have Nevada state legislators attacking Athletics fans on Twitter, large news outlets blasting the A's for their ineptitude, and complete silence from the team in the meanwhile.
Something should probably give before the revenue sharing deadline on the 15th. It's unclear what that will be, but it doesn't seem likely that the state of Nevada or John Fisher want the project to fail, for a number of reasons. The one thing we do know is that this fight is far from over, and it's almost certainly going to get uglier than what we've seen so far.