My bold prediction: UNLV will play its games at the new Raiders stadium. Bold Prediction: Various Public Boards Will Approve Deals, Raiders Stadium Will Be Built, UNLV Will Use Venue



In case you are wondering, is going to make the following outlandish predictions that there will be a UNLV-Raiders deal to allow the university’s football team to play at the NFL team’s new stadium starting in 2020; that the Raiders will pay for some infrastructure improvements such as a pedestrian bridge spanning I-15 and a local stadium board will approve a development agreement.


Really now, what did you expect?


Nevada’s state legislature, after being summoned to a special session by Gov. Brian Sandoval, passed a bill earmarking $750 million to the Raiders to build a stadium in southern Nevada.


The NFL mighty lords of pigskin — the team owners — gave their blessing to the Raiders to pack their moving trucks once again but this time move across the state border to Las Vegas.


So, while can appreciate the mechanizations of democracy regarding the paperwork and approvals necessary to make this $1.9 billion domed, 65,000-seat stadium a reality, nothing is going to stop this runaway stadium train from reaching its destination at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue on the west side of I-15 across the interstate from Mandalay Bay.


Raider stadium in Las Vegas will happen.


The most contentious topic was a “community benefits plan” the Raiders had to create. And while the local stadium authority board did not have to technically approve the document, it did win the hearts and minds of the panel’s members, including the board’s most keen watchdog on this issue, Urban Chamber of Commerce President Ken Evans.


Those 14,000 parking spaces the Raiders have to come up with? No worries there — the Clark County Commission told the Raiders to take a year to deal with that little issue.


Now there’s word that UNLV and the Raiders have reached an agreement that calls for the NFL team to allow UNLV’s football team to use the stadium starting in 2020 when it’s scheduled to open. The summary for the 30-year Raiders-UNLV joint use deal (every time I hear joint use, I imagine Raiders Mark Davis and UNLV President Len Jessup sharing a joint with lawyers) calls for the university to use the venue for football games and three other uses such as a commencement event.


Summary of UNLV-Raiders stadium use deal.


UNLV will be able to sell a “significant number” of suites and keep the money for those suite sales excluding 22 “owner’s level” suites and eight other luxury suites. And UNLV can sell club level and non-premium seats and keep the revenues from those ticket sales, under the UNLV-Raiders deal that goes before the state Board of Regents and the stadium authority board for votes in January.


UNLV will also have permission from the Raiders to play two non-conference games per season and here’s a shocker: NFL “events” will have priority over UNLV football games. More details here in the Board of Regents agenda item.


UNLV can sell temporary advertising and sponsorship deals for its football games and keep the revenue and also use the stadium’s non-static LED signage. One thing that UNLV cannot do is have advertising at its events that conflict with exclusive advertising/sponsorship deals that may be granted to the stadium’s naming rights holder, pouring rights sponsor and 12 founding or cornerstone partners. In other words, no ambush advertising by UNLV.


UNLV can sell its own licenses and tickets for its events. And there can be permanent signage at the entrances saying the stadium is home to UNLV football. One interesting nugget is that UNLV can receive up to $3.5 million a year from the stadium authority to offset revenue streams lost by moving from Sam Boyd Stadium to the new Raiders stadium. UNLV will close Sam Boyd Stadium after the football team moves to the new venue.


Most of the content in the Raiders-UNLV use deal is consistent with other agreements where local universities play at stadiums used by NFL teams in markets such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, South Florida and Tampa Bay. The public stadium agency compensating UNLV for lost revenues streams from leaving Sam Boyd Stadium for the Raiders stadium is a nice victory for the university. But keep this in mind: the $3.5 million that UNLV would potentially receive annually was specifically included in Senate Bill 1 (see pages 29-30) as funding from the waterfall room tax revenue controlled by the stadium authority.


We know UNLV will play at the Raiders stadium starting in 2020. But when will the new logo be rolled out big-time — that’s a more mysterious question.


To negotiate this joint-use deal with the Raiders, UNLV has spent at least $189,000 on legal fees so far. That was another prediction can make: lawyers will make some money from the Raiders stadium.




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Alan Snel

Alan Snel brings decades of sports-business reporting experience to 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 called 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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