The groundbreaking for the Fertitta football complex on the UNLV campus is 2 p.m. Tuesday but not open to the public.

After Decades of Sports Construction Dormancy, Las Vegas Market Bullish on New Sports Buildings



Hardly a month or two passes without a sports construction groundbreaking in the red-hot Las Vegas market and Tuesday we will see the shovels broken out again.


This time, it’s for a new $28.5 million football training center on the UNLV campus.


It’s the golden age of sports venue construction in Las Vegas and the hard hats and bulldozer operators and engineers and architects are gearing up to put up stadiums, ballparks and training facilities.


The sports groundbreakings began with the May 1, 2014 ceremony behind New York-New York on the Strip to build the privately-financed $375 million T-Mobile Arena when sports stars Bill Walton and Floyd Mayweather joined hundreds of locals to celebrate the first dirt moved for a venue that hosts the Vegas Golden Knights, professional fights and concerts.

T-Mobile Arena set off a sports venue building boom.


And just two months ago Nov. 13, the Raiders set up a temporary structure for a VIP event at their stadium construction site along Polaris Avenue just north of Russell Road for a stunning groundbreaking show that included former Raiders stars such as Howie Long and Jim Plunkett. The Raiders groundbreaking was pure Vegas.

The Raiders stadium groundbreaking was all Vegas Nov. 13.


The Raiders stadium site is going gangbusters. Photo credit: Daniel Clark/


The Raiders’ $1.8 billion football stadium, being built with a $750 million public subsidy, will sit on the west side of I-15 across the interstate from Mandalay Bay. That palatial domed, 65,000-seat stadium, along with the team’s $100 million training center in Henderson, have soaked up much of the public attention. Recently,  Henderson city officials sold 55 acres near the executive airport at a bargain rate to the Raiders for their football training center.


There is so much sports facility construction going on that contractors are wondering if there is enough skilled workers to handle the demand, said Rebecca Fountain, owner of KOR Building Group and NCA Diversity Committee chairperson.


“There is a lot of conversation around the various stadiums to be constructed in our community. The basic thoughts have been that we do not have enough skilled labor force to accommodate the demand. We are focused on creating solutions to the labor shortage with goals for long term sustainability,” Fountain told Monday.


” The other concerns have been about the utilization of diverse contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. Overall, we are all excited at the prospect of the construction and long-term job creation. The various stadiums will create jobs long after they are constructed,” Fountain said.





But there are other key sports construction projects set to come online during the next year.


Case in point:  the $150 million Las Vegas 51s’ new ballpark in Summerlin. exclusively reported in August that PENTA was going to build that “Las Vegas Ballpark” next to City National Arena. 


Las Vegas Ballpark is set to open in 2019.


And Tuesday, expect UNLV President Len Jessup, Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois and football coach Tony Sanchez to lead others in grabbing a shovel and lifting some dirt to make way for the Fertitta Football Complex.


The Fertitta Family, known for owning the Station Casino casino-hotels and developing Ultimate Fighting Championship into a sports brand that sold for more than $4 billion, is donating $10 million to the football training center. In all, more than $22 million has been pledged for the $28.5 million football complex. Even casino billionaire tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his Las Vegas Sands Corp. are chipping in with $1 million  for the 73,000-square-foot, two-level complex on the north end of the team’s practice fields.


Tommy White, union leader at Laborers local 872, estimated that 1,200 to 1,500 872 members will be working on the various sports projects such as the Raiders stadium and 51s ballpark. White compared the sports facility construction boom to the era when Las Vegas’ major hotel-casinos were built.


“It will not just benefit the local community but the whole state,” said White, also a member of the stadium authority board.


It’s not just stadiums. The big leagues of mixed martial arts — Las Vegas-based UFC — opened their new headquarters and performance center off the 215 this past year, while the Golden Knights owner Bill Foley built a $31 million hockey practice and community ice skating center along S. Pavilion Center Drive, across from Downtown Summerlin and Red Rock Resort. (The 51s’ ball yard, officially called “Las Vegas Ballpark,” under an $80 million deal with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, will be built next door to City National Arena, the Golden Knights’ headquarters and training center.)


Golden Knights owner Bill Foley built the $31 million Golden Knights headquarters and hockey center this past year.


Even Las Vegas’ biggest sports venue — Las Vegas Motor Speedway — is investing millions of dollars for upscale race-viewing options as the Speedway adds a second NASCAR weekend to its schedule this year.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is beefing up premium seating, viewing and social areas.



As a result of the new teams and sports construction, team staff members and players are moving into houses in Summerlin and Henderson.


“The past few years have been tremendous for Vegas real estate. Our current and coming sports offerings contributed greatly to that. Not only do you have executives, management, and players helping grow the luxury market, but each team and facility brings in thousands of staff workers and support jobs, all which need housing,” said Lily Stelmach, a Realtor at Realty One Group.


“On a smaller scale, all the buzz created around the sports teams and facilities makes people who are buying or selling in Vegas wonder, ‘Why not invest in Vegas,?’  ” Stelmach said.


“Recently, I’ve had several investor requests looking for multi-family units because of all the buzz the sports team bring and the growth potential they provide,” she said.


More construction is coming after Tuesday’s football training center groundbreaking at the UNLV campus. will be there for coverage.




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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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