Athletics hire investment banker to secure $500 million in private financing

The Oakland Athletics have taken another significant step toward Nevada, retaining a major player in sports finance to broker a deal intended to provide team owner John Fisher with $500 million toward a new ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip.

Nevada legislators last June approved $380 million in public funding toward the estimated $1.5-billion cost of the ballpark, with the A’s responsible for the balance, but access to the public money requires disclosure of a financing plan for the balance of the cost.

The A’s have hired Galatioto Sports Partners to attract an investor — or several — to put in that $500 million, in exchange for a share of ownership, according to people familiar with the matter not authorized to speak publicly about it.

The firm has worked on more than 100 sports financing deals, and the firm’s website describes founder Sal Galatioto as “the industry’s leading sports banker.” When the Walt Disney Co. sold the Angels and Mighty Ducks, Galatioto brokered the deals.

Fisher has sought to sell a minority interest in the A’s for months. Steve Hill, the chairman of both the Las Vegas Stadium Authority and the president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told legislators when they approved the public funding that ballpark construction would start “probably in late 2024.”

That timeline now appears optimistic, but it is unlikely the new ballpark could be ready by the projected 2028 opening if construction does not start in 2025.

This is not the first time Fisher has turned to specialists outside his organization to secure needed financing.

In 2023, in order to help persuade the Nevada legislature to approve the public funding, the A’s had 19 registered lobbyists, according to state records. Of the 1,291 employers listed in those records, only three registered more than 19 lobbyists.

The Nevada State Education Assn. — the teachers’ union pursuing a lawsuit and a referendum to halt the public funding — had 16 registered lobbyists.

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