There have long been rumors of the A’s move from Oakland to Vegas, and these only increased when the Raider’s made the move to the Allegiant Stadium in 2021. These rumors came to fruition when The Athletics signed a binding agreement to purchase land in Las Vegas, and the team announced that the agreement finalized the acquisition of a forty-nine acre site west of the infamous Las Vegas Strip, which the team hoped to move to in 2027 . Initial plans include a stadium with a capacity of thirty-five thousand, and breaking ground in 2024.
On May 29, 2023 the Nevada legislature held a hearing regarding a bill to help fund the stadium that can house the Oakland A’s Baseball Team, and went into further details of the construction of the stadium. If passed, the bill would mean that Nevada would forgo up to $180 million, in the form of transferable tax credits to the developer, with a maximum amount of $36 million per year. About $120 million in county bonds, issued by Clark County, would also help aid with construction costs and would also be paid off gradually .
Legislative approval would be the first step in bringing the team to Sin City, and breaking ground will also require a vote of approval from all twenty-nine of the other MLB team owners.
New Stadiums and the Impacts on Traffic in Las Vegas
The addition of another professional sports team to Las Vegas is exciting news to many Nevadans, who have seen Las Vegas become home to an NFL, NHL, and WNBA team in the past few years. This undoubtedly brings added interest to the city, as well as the state, and can attract more tourists, as well as organizations (like the NBA)— a big boost to the state’s economy.
However, this growth also has some negatives, especially when it comes to traffic and congestion in the city. For those Vegas residents who think that their daily commute keeps taking longer and longer, they aren’t wrong, and a study released in early 2023 found that Las Vegas is the twenty-second most congested city in the United States, and the average drivers spends around forty-one hours sitting in traffic during 2022. While this isn’t as bad as some cities like Los Angeles where drivers spend an average of one-hundred fifty-five hours in traffic, it is still quite significant.
Additionally, when compared to 1,000 major cities in the world, Las Vegas ranks at one-hundred twenty-seventh for worst congestion . The average speed on Vegas highways during peak traffic was thirty-seven miles per hour pre-pandemic, and is now nine miles slower at twenty-eight miles per hour.
The University of Nevada Las Vegas’s Center for Business and Economic Research put these numbers in the perspective of time and money and found that the typical Vegas commuter loses about $700 annually while sitting in traffic. These numbers could continue to go up considering that the city is continuing to grow, and a million more people are expected to move to the Las Vegas Valley over the next forty years, putting the population over three million.
So what will happen to traffic when another professional sports team and stadium is added into the mix? A study done at West Virginia University and 2017 may help us gain better insight into this question. The study found that when analyzing traffic patterns in urban areas in the United States with MLB teams between 1990 and 2014, the vehicle miles traveled increased in cities with MLB teams by seven percent. Additionally, congestion increased by two percent .
One of the underlying issues with increased traffic is an increase in car accidents. Being trapped in traffic elevates your frustration levels, even when the circumstances are beyond your control. This heightened agitation can easily lead to aggressive behavior among both you and other drivers including road rage, tailgating, frequents stop and starts and erratic driving from motorists trying to beat traffic.
Considering that the proposed stadium is to be built on the strip, an area that is already congested and tourist-heavy, locals will unlikely be surprised by increased congestion, and already know how to avoid the area unless necessary. The A’s economic consultant. Jeremy Aguero, has also proposed a 4:00 p.m. game time so that tourists can enjoy the games prior to taking part in Vegas night-life, the fans will be in the stadium rather than trying to get to it during peak traffic hours.
It is also important to remember that the Allegiant Stadium, as well as other sporting events like the Formula 1 in Las Vegas have given city officials and traffic officials the experience and knowledge to handle possible issues and hiccups a new stadium may pose.
The biggest issues now is whether the Nevada legislature will even pass the bill. The biennial session ended on Monday, but late last night Gov. Joe Lombardo announced a special legislative session to try and pass the bill. Time will tell if the potential for increased traffic is even a reality as without legislation, the move may be dead in the water.