Raiders Unwilling to Cede Dates to UNLV at New Stadium

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The NFL's Raiders have planted their flag in Las Vegas, which could mean limited access to their new $1.84 billion Allegiant Stadium for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas football program — at least for now.

The Rebels will use the stadium Aug. 29 for a game against California, but two additional non-conference dates it hoped to secure at the stadium — Sept. 5 against Louisiana Tech and Sept. 12 against Arizona State — are currently being blacked out by the Raiders. “Right now, we’re saving that availability for Raider games,” team president Marc Badain said last week, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We may need it for concerts and other events.

“That’s why it was part of the negotiation, and that’s why it was specified in the [stadium usage] agreement. That’s why it was part of the negotiation with UNLV leadership and Raider leadership and the Stadium Authority board. Gov. [Steve] Sisolak was part of it, and it took place over months and months. There were hundreds of items negotiated.”

The UNLV Joint Use Agreement signed by the Raiders and Nevada Board of Regents on March 27, 2018, allows the Rebels to play two non-conference games in the new stadium after the first year, with this year’s game against Cal specifically identified. Any other game would have to be cleared by the Raiders through a set of priorities in the agreement. Ultimately, the Stadium Authority must vote to sign off on UNLV’s scheduled use of the stadium. If there are any disputes, the authority would resolve them.

UNLV’s Mountain West games are not affected and will be played at Allegiant. The Mountain West has not released its schedule for next season, but the Rebels know they will host Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada and Wyoming.

UNLV last season played its 49th — and what was believed to be final  season at Sam Boyd Stadium. The program honored the stadium’s history throughout the season and invited former players for the home finale Nov. 23 against San Jose State. More than 200 attended, including former star quarterback Randall Cunningham. UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said the university was “continuing to explore every option,” according to the Review-Journal, but the Louisiana Tech and ASU games probably will be played at Sam Boyd Stadium. 

“Even if we are unable to play these two games at Allegiant Stadium, we look forward to continuing a positive and productive working relationship with the Raiders,” Reed-Francois said in a statement. “We cannot wait to start playing football in the world’s finest stadium.”

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