Raiders Hire Denver-based ICON Firm as their ‘Owner’s Advocate’ for Las Vegas Stadium Project

The Raiders have hired ICON Venue Group out of Denver to monitor their Las Vegas stadium construction project and to serve as their “owner’s advocate.”

An ICON marketing representative confirmed for LVSportsBiz.com that the firm will watch the construction budget, progress and interactions between the Raiders, the Las Vegas stadium authority board and the project construction companies.

ICON played a similar role during the construction of T-Mobile Arena for AEG and MGM Resorts — the 50/50 partners that built the $375 million arena behind New York-New York.

ICON likes to market its role as the “owner’s advocate” — which begs the question: Who is the public’s advocate for the publicly-subsidized $1.9 billion domed stadium project?

I have covered different public stadium boards in Denver and Tampa, and these public panels vary in being proactive to protect the public interest.

We shall see whether the Las Vegas stadium authority board and the Clark County Commission are a rubber stamp for the Raiders or whether they will aggressively represent the interests of the public, who are raising $1.2 billion over 30 days so that it can give a $750 million subsidy to the Raiders to build the 65,000-seat stadium on 62 acres on the west side of Interstate 15, off Russell Road at Polaris Avenue.

The next Las Vegas stadium board meeting is set for July 13 at the county government center.

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In other LVSportsBiz.com news:

Downtown Las Vegas casino owner and event showman Derek Stevens said he has purchased a key gaming-zoned parcel behind the Plaza hotel in Symphony Park, but he told LVSportsBiz.com today the land will not be used for a sports complex.

The D owner Derek Stevens says no sports venue is planned for his recently-purchased parcel in downtown Symphony Park.

“There’s not a sport element to it,” Stevens said today.

The concept of using 61-acre Symphony Park for a sports venue surfaced because of a previous proposal for a Major League Soccer stadium plan floated by local car dealer Justin Findlay for that area of downtown. Findlay and his soccer stadium partner, Maryland-based Cordish Cos., pitched the city on a public-private stadium deal.

But Major League Soccer did not give Las Vegas the green light to move ahead with a franchise, and the Findlay-Cordish stadium deal died. (The city would like to have a minor league soccer team play at Cashman Field to show MLS that Las Vegas is worthy of a big-league soccer franchise. Other cities have followed that route too, gaining MLS franchises after hosting minor league soccer teams.)

Mayor Carolyn Goodman said today that she didn’t think Stevens would use the six-acre “P/Q” site for a sports venue because of the gaming zoning. Goodman said no plan for that land has been officially submitted to the city.

Stevens, owner of The D casino-hotel in downtown, is a big hockey fan who cut a recent six-year partnership deal with the Vegas Golden Knights. The D will have VGK watch parties and be the official downtown hotel for the new NHL team.

Stevens said today there are no development plans for P/Q right now. It will serve as a construction staging area for equipment and worker parking for Stevens’ other neighboring construction projects. Stevens did say that in three years or so he will re-evaluate the use of the P/Q parcel.

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Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak recently told LVSportsBiz.com that negotiations are going on between the Las Vegas 51s and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for the Triple A baseball team to leave its Cashman Field home and move to a new site in Summerlin along Pavilion Center Drive next to Downtown Summerlin.

County Commissioner Steve Sisolak says talks are underway between the 51s and the LVCVA for the Triple A team to leave Cashman Field for suburban Summerlin. Here’s a pic of Sisolak at a recent Raiders stadium board meeting at the county government center.

The 51s must give the LVCVA two years notice that it will break its lease with the convention authority at Cashman Field. The convention authority is the 51s’ landlord at Cashman, which has a reputation as one of the more dismal Triple A ball parks in Minor League Baseball.

The 51s and the LVCVA would have started talks earlier. But a certain sports team called the Raiders of the NFL pre-empted the ballpark talks.

The 51s hope to move to a new ball park in Summerlin — eventually.

Now that the Raiders won a $750 million public subsidy from southern Nevada, the Raiders have named their construction companies and there’s a public stadium authority board up and running, there’s a chance for the 51s and the LVCVA to move ahead on its negotiations so that the New York Mets’ Triple A club can migrate west to Summerlin on land that is technically in Clark County and not in the city of Las Vegas.

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Speaking of Cashman Field, Mayor Carolyn Goodman was hoping the Raiders would move from Oakland to Las Vegas and play in at the downtown Cashman site.

But Goodman told LVSportsBiz.com today that there was a certain person who did not want the Raiders to play at the Cashman location.

Goodman said billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson told her he did not want the NFL team at the Cashman site.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson did not want the Raiders to play in downtown Las Vegas.

“When Sheldon says something, he means it and never backs down,” said Goodman, noting she was not a fan of the eventual 62-acre Raiders stadium site on the west side of Interstate 15 at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue.

Goodman doesn’t like the location of this Raiders stadium site on the west side of I-15 at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue.

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Way before the Raiders start play in Las Vegas in 2020, the NHL Golden Knights will play their inaugural game in Sin City in less than four months.

But the newly-minted expansion franchise got a taste of the Big Leagues last week when it participated in its Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena and the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago.

At last Wednesday’s NHL Awards/Expansion Draft event at the arena, LVSportsBiz.com witnessed both thousands of local fans wearing Golden Knights T-shirts and caps and also plenty of non-VGK fans wearing the jerseys of the Rangers, Black Hawks, Red Wings, Flyers, Islanders, Coyotes and other teams.

Here are two Blue Jackets fans from Columbus, Ohio visiting T-Mobile Arena this week. He likes the Golden Knights logo.

In fact, LVSportsBiz.com saw one local fan wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey and a Golden Knights cap. “I have my favorite team in each conference, the East and the West,” the fan said.

It will be fascinating to see how Golden Knights officials will deal with the influx of non-VGK fans in their building when the season starts in October.

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With all the hype surrounding the Golden Knights’ drafts and jersey unveiling, UFC’s annual International Fight Week is sneaking up on local MMA fans.

It’s set for July 5-8 — and you know UFC’s Dana White will be ready.

The two-day Fan experience will be held outside at Toshiba Plaza and “The Park” next to T-Mobile Arena, and you’ll notice that some fans have strong opinions about holding a fan expo in Las Vegas’ toasty outdoor conditions in early July.

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And finally today, UNLV lifted the curtain on its new logo. The fella with the mustache and cowboy hat reminds me of Pat Christenson of Las Vegas Events, who ran the Thomas & Mack Center for years after it opened more than 30 years ago.

Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com

Alan Snel

Alan Snel brings decades of sports-business reporting experience to LVSportsBiz.com. Snel covered the business side of sports for the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Tribune and Las Vegas Review-Journal. As a city hall beat reporter, Snel also covered stadium deals in Denver and Seattle. In 2000, Snel launched a sport-business website for FoxSports.com called FoxSportsBiz.com. After reporting sports-business for the RJ, Snel wrote hard-hitting stories on the Raiders stadium for the Desert Companion magazine in Las Vegas and The Nevada Independent. Snel is also one of the top bicycle advocates in the country.

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