Baseball expansion talk is in the air, and many cities are starting to look around to see if they are next. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred named a few potential cities in an interview with “First Things First,” and he says Las Vegas is on the list.
Update 12/8/2018: The 51’s will now be knows as The Las Vegas Aviators
Five years ago, it would seem unlikely that a city with so many entertainment options would have success with a sports team. But the success of the Golden Knights proved everyone wrong. With the Oakland Raiders moving to the city soon, an MLB expansion team would have a big effect on tourism, commute times and housing prices in the area.
To start, a potential MLB team in Las Vegas would not have trouble finding big name talent. Bryce Harper is from the area, as well as Kris Bryant, Erick Fedde, Barry Zito and Marty Cordova. The Golden Knights averaged 18,000 fans each game, and made more than $65 million in its inaugural season. This is even more significant because the Golden Knights charges about $88 per ticket, compared to the league-wide average in the lower $70s. With that many fans coming out for the Golden Knights, a MLB expansion team is sure to make more than $100 million and bring twice as many fans to the games.
With so many fans traveling to one place, a potential MLB stadium in Las Vegas will have a significant impact on commute times. MLB traditionally likes stadiums to be in areas with public transportation, or areas with parking structures nearby. This makes it easier for people to load up an SUV perfect for the city and save on space and money for parking. Las Vegas has a minor league baseball team which is preparing to move to a new $150 million stadium.
While it’s too soon to say, this stadium could be the location for an expansion team if the city is selected. The new stadium will be able to hold 10,000 fans and have amenities such as pools and suites. The new stadium will be located about 30 minutes from the Las Vegas strip by car, or about an hour via buses. If people choose to drive, they should drive something comfortable with a good sound system for music along the way.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Nevada has already announced plans to push for federal funding for a light-rail line or a rapid bus transit route. A new baseball team could be the final straw that puts those plans into motion. It’s estimated that an additional 10,000 people ride the subway to baseball and football games in Philadelphia, and the Metro-North railroad brings about 5,000 people to Yankees games.
Residents who live around the stadium for the MLB team will be glad to see their home values skyrocket. Trulia conducted a study and found that home values in 18 of the 29 neighborhoods around ballparks in the U.S. saw higher home values than other neighborhoods. For example, homes within a mile of Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. had a median value of $415,000, compared to the citywide average of $361,000. Home values near AT&T Park in San Francisco have an average value of $1.14 million, compared to the rest of the city at $1.07 million.
Las Vegas home values in general are rising much faster than the rest of the U.S. They have increased about 15 percent over the past year, and Zillow predicts it will increase by 8 percent within the next year. With both a new Raiders stadium and a baseball stadium in the mix, this could push home values above $300,000.
If the MLB decides to expand, Las Vegas has a good chance of scoring a team. The city has proven that it has dedicated sports fans and teams that can bring in the big bucks. If this gets pushed through, people will be loading up their truck and heading to Vegas in no time!