‘Appreciation nights’ and a ‘community suite’ in draft of A’s community benefits plan

By: - October 26, 2023 6:33 am

(Photo by Matthew Stockmanl/Getty Images)

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority on Wednesday released a draft of the contract detailing the financial and philanthropic commitments to be made by the Oakland A’s as a part of their sweetheart deal with the state.

The draft community benefits agreement fleshes out some of the expectations established in SB1, the legislation lawmakers passed in June that secured the Major League Baseball team $380 million in public assistance for their proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat, 9-acre domed baseball stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. Requirements in the draft CBA include things like meeting quotas for the hiring of minority and women workers, hosting at least 17 different appreciation nights or awareness days, and investing in youth baseball and local nonprofits.

The A’s will be required to make an annual commitment of $500,000 during the construction phase, starting the year county bonds are issued. Once the stadium opens, the A’s will be required to contribute annually $2 million or 1% of their ticket revenue, whichever is higher. Those amounts, which can be cash or in-kind donations, were set in statute by lawmakers.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill, who chairs the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, noted the 2016 legislation for what would become Allegiant Stadium required the Raiders establish a community benefits agreement but did not specify what was included within it. SB1 for the A’s put in statute specific requirements.

Lawmakers and the A’s during the eight-day special session in June agreed on a four-page “term sheet” that detailed some philanthropic focus areas and requirements. That codified commitment was needed to swing votes in the A’s favor.

SB1 ultimately passed the Senate 13-8 and the Assembly 25-15.

The 16-page CBA draft, as well as an 80-page lease agreement draft, was released to Stadium Authority members and the public Wednesday. Authority staff noted both documents are still being negotiated with the A’s but outside input is also welcomed.

What’s in the CBA

The community benefits agreement requires that at least 15% of the baseball stadium project be subcontracted to small local businesses, and at least 51% of construction work hours must be done by women, minorities, veterans or disabled workers.

Similarly, 60% of event operations work must be performed by workers who meet one or more of those criteria. Full-time operations employees must earn a living wage and be provided benefits, including health care and paid family and medical leave.

The A’s will be required to host “awareness programming and celebrations,” including appreciation nights for nurses, teachers, first responders and veterans. Also required: Asian American and Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Indigenous and African American heritage nights, as well as events for Pride Month, Juneteenth, hunger action awareness and disability awareness.

Many of the requirements within the CBA are broad, giving plenty of leeway to the A’s to decide what causes or organizations to support.

A’s players will be required to participate in various community engagement activities, such as visiting local hospitals or schools. The team will also be required to offer “no cost and discounted admissions for the benefit of students and families in need” and support little leagues in underserved communities.

The A’s will be required to create opportunities to spotlight and support Nevada small businesses and nonprofits. According to the CBA, this could include ticket-sales fundraising programs, pre-game recognition or social media posts.

A “community suite” will also be available for use by a charitable, community or economic development organization at no cost.

The agreement also requires the team to have a grant program for veterans, a job program for veterans, an arts plan, and a small business fund. The CBA also includes a provision that the team incorporate visuals from the Neon Museum.

The A’s will partner with the Nevada System of Higher Education to provide mentorship opportunities, scholarships and internships.

The team must dedicate funds for improving and restoring baseball and softball fields in Nevada public schools, colleges and universities, especially within underserved communities.

Hill said the A’s won’t be expected to do everything listed in the CBA each year but may instead focus on different aspects each year in order to maximize the power of the at least $2 million in contributions.

A Baseball Stadium Community Oversight Committee (BSCOC) will be formed to oversee the implementation and administration of the CBA. The BSCOC will have seven appointed members — two by the Stadium Authority, two by the Clark County Commission, and one appointed by the governor, Senate majority leader, and Assembly speaker.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, three children and one mutt.