Oakland A’s owner John Fisher and team president Dave Kaval spent much of Wednesday in the Nevada Legislative Building to promote SB509, a bill that proposes up to $380 million in public funding to help construct a $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat stadium for the team on the Las Vegas Strip.
The A’s top brass was noticeably absent from Monday’s joint hearing by the Legislature’s two budget committees on the nine-figure request.
“We have back-to-back meetings,” Kaval told The Nevada Independent as he and Fisher, accompanied by lobbyists, hustled into offices on the Senate side of the building.
On Wednesday, Gov. Joe Lombardo’s Chief of Staff Ben Kieckhefer told The Nevada Independent that the deal to construct a stadium in Las Vegas is not mutually exclusive from a measure proposing a massive film tax credit expansion.
He also said the public financing deal would benefit taxpayers.
“There’ll be more money in the general fund if we build the stadium than if we don’t,” Kieckhefer said. “Not in the first five years, but over the long term. And that long-term strategic investment, I think, is positive.”
Kaval met with state lawmakers months ago when the team was still considering several locations in Las Vegas for the stadium, but this was the first time Fisher has publicly visited lawmakers in Carson City to discuss the possible move. Fisher, who has an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion, bought the A’s in 2005.
Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) spent roughly 15 minutes with Kaval and Fisher and said they didn’t talk much about the basics of the public financing piece.
“We only talked in context about the legislation and what was in the community enrollment piece,” Hammond said, adding that “we discussed what has to happen to get this out on Monday,” referencing the final day of the Legislature’s 120-day biennial session.
“To me, it really is about community involvement. When a team moves into a community, you want to make sure that they’re invested [in the community],” he said.
Hammond added the A’s have “a tremendous amount of support” from organized labor and the Southern Nevada business community.
“There’s a lot of vocal people who are opposed to giving any amount of public assistance to any private entity, like a sports team,” Hammond said. “But there are a lot of people who understand that when you invest public dollars it has to be the right investment.”
Reporters Tabitha Mueller, Sean Golonka and Jacob Solis contributed.