In an attempt to lure the unhappy Oakland Raiders franchise to Las Vegas, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has proposed a plan that would see the Nevada city stake the biggest subsidy in the history of the National Football League (NFL).
Adelson is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns properties around the world including the Sands Macao, The Palazzo in Las Vegas and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. Long interested in bringing an NFL franchise to Nevada, the 82-year-old has now teamed up with developer Majestic Realty Company to suggest building a 65,000-seat doomed stadium for the team at a cost of over $1 billion with Las Vegas required to contribute $750 million.
According to a report from the Bloomberg news service, a meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee was presented with Adelson’s proposal last month. His plan would see Las Vegas sell $750 million of municipal bonds due to be subsequently paid off via a new 0.9% percent tax on hotel rooms, which would equate to around $1.08 per night.
If approved, the plan would see Las Vegas commit to the largest ever subsidy for an NFL stadium and exceed the $620 million the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, paid for the 62,400-seat Lucas Oil Stadium in 2005. Adelson revealed that the Raiders could be prepared to contribute as much as $500 million for the new stadium project while an additional $540 million would come from private investors including his own Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
In response, Thursday saw representatives for Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval propose a plan to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee that would scale back public contributions to $500 million while increasing the private sector share to $900 million. This scheme is due to be put up for a vote on July 11 although any new tax would require the consent of the state legislature before being signed into law by the Republican governor.
The Oakland Raiders are not happy with their current home, the 56,000-seat Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and are actively in talks with potential investors about finding a replacement for the venue, which opened in 1966. However, Oakland does not seem willing to subsidize the costs of helping to build a new stadium and January saw team owner Mark Davis try to move the team to Los Angeles before being beaten to the punch by the now-relocating St Louis Rams.
Adelson, who is estimated by Forbes to be worth around $25 billion, bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper last year and wrote in a March editorial that a new stadium is “one piece of tourism infrastructure” that is currently missing from the Las Vegas Strip. Other backers of bringing an NFL franchise to southern Nevada have stated that the scheme could generate $870 million a year in new spending and create up to 8,000 new jobs for Clark County.