It’s not the best deal, but its now a done deal. Las Vegas, one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world and in the United States without a major-league sports franchise, can heave a sigh of relief as Gov. Brian Sandoval will on Monday in Las Vegas, sign a bill that will see NFL’s Oakland Raiders moving down to the Las Vegas strip into a new stadium which would be home to them and the UNLV Rebel football team, after a majority of Nevada lawmakers passed the Senate Bill 1 on Friday.
The bill which was passed as soon as it addressed most of the concerns raised by some of the lawmakers, seeks to increase Clark County’s hotel room taxes by a half-point which would help raise $1.4 billion for the Las Vegas Convention Center and $1.9 billion that would be used to fund the building of the 65,000-seat domed stadium through a 0.88 points increase in tax. The bill also includes amendments that saw an increase in the number of Stadium Authority Board from seven to nine, and stipulated that the cost UNLV would incur for using the stadium would be simply “actual operational costs.”
In his words, Gov. Sandoval said “Nevada has a past unlike any other state, but it is the ability to write a new narrative and redefine our state’s image that makes us so unique and so capable of innovating once again through the new Nevada. This is the beginning of the next chapter of southern Nevada’s continued dominance in tourism, conventions, and hospitality, and presents an exciting opportunity for UNLV.”
The majority leader of the Assembly Paul Anderson who pushed the bill, believes that the economic benefits of the two projects would be fantastic, as there would be a competitive boost in the tourism industry, and a creation of 13,000 permanent jobs for the people of Nevada. Others who were of the same opinion with Anderson include Kristin McMillan, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce as well as Speaker John Hambrick. One of the representatives of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Andy Abboud reportedly said that Adelson was pleased with the project.
If three-fourth of the NFL team owners’ approve of the relocation, Mark Davis, owner of Oakland Raiders pledged the sum of $500million to the project, while $750million would come from bonds of the tax increase and Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson would dole out $650million.
NFL owners are scheduled to meet October 18 in Houston, but it’s believed Mark Davis won’t make his pitch to them until all the owners meet in January, around the time of Super Bowl LI
Issues have, however, arisen and there are speculations that the Raiders may not move to Nevada if they aren’t sorted out although analysts have concluded that the issues – one of which is the already planned road projects estimated at $900 million – don’t have any fiscal impact on the stadium.
UNLV may be left with an option of raising $200million in private donations in two years in other to access a $300million dollar fund that would be used to build a smaller stadium for them if the Raider’s don’t come back – that is unlikely to happen – given the current support they have been receiving.
A major downside to the stadium proposal however, is that even though it would be owned by the public, profits would end up in the coffers of the private investors.
Photo: Courtesy of MANICA Architecture