Growing Pains: Las Vegas NFL Stadium Proposal Unveiled, Met with Some Opposition

On Thursday, March 24, 2016, University of Nevada at Las Vegas representatives and executives at the Las Vegas Sands Corporation unveiled a proposal to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee to build a $1.3 billion NFL-team-ready football stadium near the Las Vegas strip.

The SNTIC oversees the investment of state and local finances into city infrastructure. Based on a previous statement made by Sands, the project might seek approximately $780 million in public funding.

Although two major event facilities already exist in Las Vegas – the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Sam Boyd Stadium – Sands and its partner Majestic Realty contend that more is needed to maximize the region’s ability to properly facilitate an NFL team:

To be at the leading edge of the sports and entertainment industry, Las Vegas must have a state-of-the-art enclosed stadium … [b]y not having a stadium facility in Las Vegas, we are not optimizing the significant investments made in our tourism economy.

In a recent survey, 79 percent of local residents and 80 percent of tourists expressed interest in the project, and a recent economic impact study indicated that such an undertaking would benefit the region regardless of whether or not it ultimately attracted an NFL team. While the Oakland Raiders have expressed interest in moving to Las Vegas, there is nothing set in stone. Certain criteria must also be met before a team can change locations.

The proposal has been met with some criticism as well. MGM Resorts International, which owns a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip, has described a decision to invest public funds into the project as “risky,” and has stated that “[Las Vegas] [does not] have an NFL football team, and frankly, there isn’t any likelihood [it is] going to get one.” According to MGM Executive Vice President Alan Feldman, the funds would be better allocated to improvements on the city’s convention space, and that MGM would potentially support a proposal for a stadium on the University of Las Vegas Campus similar to that currently underway at Colorado State.

Under the proposal, construction would begin toward the end of next year, and stadium would become operational in the second half of 2020.

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