Report: Nevada officials tried to lure Diamondbacks to Vegas area in 2018

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Officials in Henderson, Nevada, put together a significant proposal in an effort to lure the Arizona Diamondbacks from Phoenix, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Thursday.

Henderson city manager Richard Derrick and mayor Debra March reportedly initiated the talks during the summer of 2018 after reaching out to D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall.

It's reported the discussions revolved around the creation of a brand-new stadium in Henderson, which is located about 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

$1 billion ballpark

According to the report, Henderson submitted slideshow renderings for a planned $1 billion ballpark if the team agreed to move.

The ballpark would have 32,000 seats and space for 4,000 standing-room-only ticket holders. It would also feature a retractable-roof, much like Chase Field, the Diamondbacks current ballpark in downtown Phoenix.

One of the four locations discussed was in west Henderson, near St. Rose Parkway and Bermuda Road. Henderson city officials considered that a prime location after the Oakland Raiders agreed to build their future headquarters in the same area.

Why the bid was made

The reported talks came on the heels of the Diamondbacks and Maricopa County updating their lease agreement in May of 2018.

Until that point, the Diamondbacks and Maricopa County had been feuding over maintenance issues and costs pertaining to Chase Field, which opened in 1998.

Under the new terms, the Diamondbacks gained sole control of ballpark operations and maintenance. More importantly, they will now keep all revenue from the stadium. It also includes an out clause that will allow the Diamondbacks to end the lease following the 2022 season, which is five years before it's currently slated to expire.

Henderson officials saw that window as an opportunity to get the ball rolling in case the Diamondbacks were looking to move on.

Officials in Henderson, Nevada, attempted to lure the Diamondbacks after team's dispute with Maricopa County in Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

No deal expected

For now, the Diamondbacks say they have no intention to leave Arizona.

From the Las Vegas Journal-Review:

"A number of cities have expressed interest but we have not pursued any because we have not received permission from MLB and our desire is, first and foremost, to stay in Arizona," the Diamondbacks said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Henderson officials remain open to resuming discussions with Arizona or opening up new discussions with another franchise that might be interested.

“While a proposal for an Arizona Diamondbacks ballpark has not moved forward, the city of Henderson would welcome conversations with other major league franchises that may be considering a move to a different market,” the city said in a statement.

The doors to Vegas are open

The NHL’s decision to award Las Vegas a franchise has helped change the sports landscape and has opened up many new possibilities for the area.

Las Vegas was previously viewed as off limits, mainly due to concerns surrounding the city’s connection to sports betting. But that landscape too has changed thanks to new sports betting laws from coast to coast.

The NHL’s Golden Knights were first. The WNBA followed a year later. In fact, the WNBA held its All-Star Game in Vegas this past weekend. Then the NFL got on board too after the Raiders agreed to move to Vegas for the 2020 season.

Vegas was already home to a Triple-A baseball team. But it seems inevitable now that the area will add a major league team at some point.

It’s a matter of when, not if, and given the amount of preparation that’s already being done, it seems safe to speculate it will happen sooner than later.

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