The Las Vegas Sands and a team of investors are putting together a plan to build a new billion dollar stadium to house UNLV's football team — and possibly a National Football League franchise.
Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders, is scheduled to meet with Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, and team representatives are expected to tour the site Friday.
Gerry Bomotti, UNLV's senior vice president for finance and business, said moving the Raiders to Las Vegas might be challenging stating he thinks there will be concern about “betting and legalized gambling."
“We are moving forward with the stadium concept with or without an NFL team," Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands' senior vice president of government relations and community development said Thursday. "We see a lot more opportunities — conference championships, bowl games, NFL exhibition football, boxing, soccer, neutral site games, and music festivals. There is an entire segment out there.”
The project would involve Majestic Realty Co. and University of Nevada Las Vegas, which owns 42 vacant acres along Tropicana Avenue east of Koval Lane. UNLV wants to move its football program from the older Sam Boyd Stadium located in the east valley to a facility closer to campus. A donation from the UNLV Foundation covered the $50 million site purchase.
"It has good potential as a stadium site,” says UNLV president Len Jessup. “But we've said all along that we'd look at any opportunity. If we can get a stadium built at little or no cost to the university, we're interested in it."
Abboud says a modern stadium would drive tourism to Southern Nevada. Abboud envisions the project as a public-private partnership between the Las Vegas Sands and the Adelson family, with other companies possibly raising funds toward its completion.
According to the Review Journal, the group may seek a portion of the hotel room tax revenues currently collected by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to fund the project. The company plans to present its idea in February or March to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.
Convention authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said that he's interested in learning more about the stadium proposal and will evaluate it when it is presented to the committee.
Majestic Realty Executive Vice President Craig Cavileer gave his input as well, stating a public-private partnership is necessary for a stadium, and that financing would dictate its design.
Majestic was previously involved in a similar effort to bring a stadium to the university campus as part of the $800 million UNLV Now project in 2013, a partnership between the university and the hospitality industry. It never won approval from the Nevada Legislature.
While the initial proposal focuses on the Koval-Tropicana site, Jessup said UNLV would be open to other locations near campus.