It’s Finally Done and Open!
After waiting almost three years for it to be built, Las Vegas finally got to tare the wrapper off the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium last night!
Not only was it the first event in the brand new stadium, but it was also the first home game of our very own NFL football team. The Las Vegas Raiders. To add to the special titles of the night, it was also the fiftieth anniversary of the NFL’s Monday Night Football!
Unfortunately, the word “open” is a relative word. The first game was also the first game without fans in the stands due to the Nevada covid-19 restrictions 🙁
The Thunderbird Flyover
Being brand new and being in Las Vegas, we needed to start it all off right. In Vegas, we don’t do just a ribbon-cutting and cake. Nope, in Las Vegas, it has to be on a grand scale. The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, “The Thunderbirds” based out of nearby Nellis Airbase, kicked off the Las Vegas Raiders’ first home game with a flyover during the national anthem performance.
That’s how we do it an dit was just the right thing to do for such an occasion! I can say it was a beautiful sight to see as the jets came across the Las Vegas strip, across the top of the stadium, and zoom past where we were shooting from. The crowds on the streets were honking and cheering. It just made you proud to be an American!
The Fans Came
Even with the COVID lockdown and the fact that fans were not allowed inside the stadium to watch the game, they came to watch the flyover. Lining the streets and parking lots around the stadium. And in a small way, having all that traffic to watch the Thunderbirds was beneficial.
Even without the fans in the seats, the traffic caused by those wanting to witness the flyover as well as just being “there” for the first game, traffic planners, and others got their first taste of what the crowds will be like once it all opens back up. Hopefully, seeing how fans react to the events at the stadium without having them be in there, will help them better plan and organize the traffic flows for when they do have games with fans or concerts at the stadium.
The Game Was Hit Too
According to the morning headlines “Monday Night Football’ ratings best in a decade in Las Vegas”, the game is a hit as well. Monday night’s game between the Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints drew a 22.1 overnight rating in Las Vegas.
In plain English, that means that 22.1 percent of local households with TVs were tuned in for the game. And for the record books, the Vegas Raiders defeated the New Orleans Saints 34-24! It was just a winning night all around!
Photos by Tom Donoghue @photomanlv