By ALAN SNEL
I bicycled over to the building that looked like a gigantic greenhouse that was quickly erected this week on the Raiders’ 62-acre stadium site along Polaris Avenue on the west side of Interstate 15.
I pulled up to a security guard standing sentinel at the chain link fence, glanced at the building on recently-installed blacktop in an ocean of desert scrub land and asked the man, “What do you got going here.”
The security guard didn’t miss a beat: “A dog-and-pony show.”
We both laughed.
“It’s a groundbreaking,” he told me.
Indeed, your typical groundbreaking is usually exactly that — a dog-and-pony show.
But, this will not be your typical groundbreaking.
The Raiders are staging an exclusive VIP event Monday, when team officials and very important people in Las Vegas will move some dirt at 5 p.m. to begin the construction of a $1.9 billion stadium project that the NFL team hopes will open in July 2020.
The very important folks, who were lucky enough to receive an invite from the Raiders, have been advised to go to the swanky all-suite Delano across the interstate to pick up their groundbreaking credential at 3 p.m. Monday.
I would strongly suggest the Raiders shuttle the lucky groundbreaking witnesses from Delano over the interstate to the stadium site because I don’t think I’m talking out of order here when I observe that the site’s parking qualities are not the location’s strong suit.
It’s unclear how the Raiders determined who was and who wasn’t invited to this gala. Some people received invites in the mail. Others received their invites via emails. And LVSportsBiz.com heard there were former Raiders players and Las Vegas area politicians looking for an invite last week.
And with a groundbreaking set for 5 p.m., the Raiders have brought a new meaning to their “Black Hole” lexicon. The Raiders website and their Facebook page will broadcast the shovel-to-dirt moment live.
Even though Nevada will be raising more than $1 billion so that the state can give $750 million to the Raiders for their stadium (it’ll cost Nevada tens of million dollars more if the bonds are taxable), the Raiders are running the stadium show.
They have hired two general contractors to build the 65,000-seat, domed palatial playground and the Raiders will likely hire a stadium manager to run the joint. For their $750 million stadium subsidy — the biggest in NFL history — the good people of Nevada can say they have a public stadium authority board to approve the Raiders’ major stadium construction spending bills.
The groundbreaking will not be the people’s groundbreaking. The fact is $750 million just doesn’t buy you, the public, what it used to in the football stadium world.
Fans have already contacted LVSportsBiz.com to lament that the groundbreaking doesn’t appear to be open to the public to attend.
That building, after all, can hold just so many VIPs.
And one stadium board member, Laborers 872 union leader Tommy White, told LVSportsBiz.com that state lawmakers who voted against the stadium funding legislation have a lot of nerve to ask for invitations to the hottest groundbreaking this side of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com