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The Iconic Strip’s Transformation to Welcome Major League Baseball

Say hello to Las Vegas’ newest Major League Baseball team, but bid farewell to some time-honored institutions. The city that never sleeps has confirmed its new baseball team, an addition that could mean the end of several beloved shows, restaurants, and a renowned casino.

Nevada’s Governor Joe Lombardo recently inked an agreement, ratified by the state legislature, to allocate $380 million in public funds for a shiny $1.5 billion baseball stadium located right on the iconic Las Vegas Strip. It’s a home run for a city that only as recently as 2017 had no sports teams of its own.

Fast forward to today, and Vegas has become a sports mecca. The Golden Knights, the city’s hockey team, just clinched the Stanley Cup, and the Raiders finished a season with robust attendance at the Allegiant Stadium, located near the Strip. This influx of sports leagues into the city came on the back of a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2018. The decision, allowing states to regulate sports betting, shifted the perspective on Vegas and transformed it from a sports league outcast to a desirable location for pro teams.

And now, in the wake of the ruling, the Oakland Athletics are packing their bags and heading for the Nevada desert.

However, this move comes with a significant price tag that extends beyond the steep $1.5 billion construction cost. The new stadium is set to be built on the site currently occupied by the Tropicana, the second-oldest casino on the Strip. This means that soon, the ‘Trop’ will have to bow out to the incoming baseball arena, taking along with it an array of establishments that have made it a cherished landmark.

Since its inception in 1957, the Tropicana has been a staple of the Strip, second only to Caesars Entertainment’s Flamingo in terms of longevity. The casino resort has been living on borrowed time since Bally’s Corp. acquired operating rights from Penn National in 2022. The upcoming stadium deal has now sealed the Tropicana’s fate.

The Tropicana’s demolition will not only signal the end of an iconic casino but also displace several Las Vegas mainstays. Among them is Rich Little, the renowned impressionist and a regular on the Johnny-Carson-era “Tonight Show”. Little has been gracing the stage at the Tropicana since 2015. Alongside Little, Murray the Magician, an ‘America’s Got Talent’ alumni, will also lose his Strip residency.

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine’s gastronomic outpost, Robert Irvine’s Public House, will have to close its doors too. Irvine has been highly selective about where he plants his culinary flag and had put a lot of personal effort into his Tropicana establishment.

The timing for the Tropicana’s closure is yet to be announced, but with the public funding bill now signed and sealed, the baseball project seems unstoppable. As entrepreneurs and investors, it’s fascinating to observe this evolution – a transition that underlines the dynamism of the entertainment industry and the allure of sports as a revenue magnet. As the lights dim at the Tropicana, a new chapter begins on the Strip, illustrating the ceaseless reinvention that keeps Las Vegas buzzing.

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