UNLV Plans to Have Fans at Football Games in Allegiant Stadium

Posted on: September 30, 2020, 12:11h. 

Last updated on: September 30, 2020, 01:06h.

Football fans could get a chance to be at live games in Southern Nevada’s new $1.9-billion football stadium this fall. But it won’t be at a Las Vegas Raiders game.

Allegiant Stadium
The UNLV Rebels hope to have a limited number of fans in attendance at games in Allegiant Stadium. The university’s plan is awaiting state and local approval. (Image: KTNV-TV)

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas this week announced plans to permit a limited number of fans into the domed stadium for home games this year, pending state and local approval.

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) said Tuesday he would allow larger gatherings at venues than previously permitted under COVID-19 safety restrictions. At a stadium, 10 percent of capacity would be allowed inside for games. This means 6,500 fans could attend Rebels’ games at the 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium. Social-distancing and masks would be required

The university is submitting its plan to the Southern Nevada Health District and state Department of Business and Industry for approval.

For sportsbooks, fans attending UNLV games could result in a slight uptick in wagering, said Ben Fawkes of the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN).

However, he told Casino.org the increase probably would not be “too great.”

I think the restrictions from COVID at the sportsbooks are more responsible for the decreased handle than fans not being in the stadium,” he said in an email to Casino.org.

Fawkes said many people who go to the games “are just fans, who aren’t necessarily bettors — much like Vegas Golden Knights games.”

“With the increased prevalence of mobile sports betting apps, fans can bet in Nevada from their couches on the game,” he said.

Mountain West Resumes Play

UNLV is a member of the 12-team Mountain West Conference. Under first-year head coach Marcus Arroyo, the Rebels were scheduled to open their 12-game season at home in Allegiant Stadium on Aug. 29 against the Pac-12’s University of California Golden Bears.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Mountain West announced on Aug. 10 it would postpone football and other fall sports. Conference officials recently said football teams now are going to play an eight-game schedule beginning Oct. 24. The new schedule is expected to be released soon.

If the original schedule were being followed, UNLV’s next home game in Allegiant Stadium would be against the Wyoming Cowboys, a Mountain West rival, on Oct. 10.

Raiders Open Without Fans

While some National Football League teams are allowing a limited number of fans to attend home games, the Raiders have said fans will not be permitted in Allegiant Stadium for its games.

The 2-1 Raiders, who moved from Oakland at the end of last season, played their first home game in Southern Nevada on Sept. 21 with no fans in attendance. The Raiders defeated the New Orleans Saints, 34-24.

VSiN’s Fawkes told Casino.org that fewer fans traveling to Las Vegas for NFL games could lead to a “decreased handle” at sportsbooks.

In March, when coronavirus infections began to spike, athletic events at all levels were canceled. Starting this summer, professional and college sports have been back on the board. In some places around the country, including in Arkansas and Colorado, this has led to higher wagering totals at sportsbooks.