The Las Vegas Sands’ bid to woo a major sports team to Las Vegas with a proposed $1.2 billion stadium may only be a couple of weeks old, but it’s already gathering momentum.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ), Ed Roski, who owns the Majestic Reality Company which has partnered with LVS on the project, met with Nevada’s top economic development official to discuss the stadium this week. Steve Hill is chairman of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, a body, by all accounts, with the power to approve $1.2 billion stadiums.
Hill’s committee will formally hear the proposal next month, on March 24th, and will issue a recommendation by July 31st.
LVS wants to build the 65,000-seat stadium on a UNLV-owned 42-acre plot north of McCarran International airport. The university recently purchased the land for $50 million, and the stadium would become the home of the UNLV college football team.
No NFL Prohibition on Las Vegas
LVS is hoping that it will also become the home of the Oakland Raiders, a team in search of a stadium. The Raiders’ lease expires on the Oco Coliseum in Oakland next month. LVS Chairman Sheldon Adelson met Raiders owner Mark Davis recently to discuss the possibility.
Shortly after that meeting, a memo was circulated by the NFL to its franchisees instructing them on how they should react to press inquiries about Adelson’s approach.
According to the memo, the official line is that “there is no prohibition under league rules on a team moving to any particular city,” suggesting that the existence of legal sports betting in Nevada would not affect Las Vegas’ chances in the light of the league’s strict anti-gambling stance.
While many Sin City residents would welcome the idea of a major sports team making the city its home for the first time, many are less excited about the use of public money to fund such a project.
Public Money Would Provide Bulk of Funding
And while Adelson insisted that he would put up the “lion’s share” of the costs, on closer inspection, this doesn’t seem to be the case. A preliminary financing plan calls for $780 million in public money, while LVS will pony up $420 million, although this plan isn’t final, says LVS.
Things seem to be moving quickly. LVS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Andy Abboud told the Review-Journal last week that the company would be “moving forward with the stadium concept with or without an NFL team,” but he may be getting ahead of himself.
Regardless any public backlash over the funding derivation, UNLV Regent Michael Wixom told the LVRJ that the stadium still needs to be approved by the university board.
“While a stadium was discussed by some at the time as a possible use for the property, the board has not approved any stadium plans. Neither does it have any agreement with any party for the construction or development of a stadium,” he said.