I almost decided not to post about Friday’s approval of an $800 million, 60,000-seat domed stadium plan by University of Nevada-Las Vegas, given that it’s for college football and the proposed other uses include “the likes of an NFL exhibition game, Comic-Con and the Electric Daisy Carnival to campus.” But then this caught my eye:
The stadium could pump $393.2 million to the Las Vegas economy annually if constructed, according to an economic impact report released Friday.
$393.2 million? Annually?
The report is by sports economist Mark Rosentraub, who already had a bit of a reputation for being willing to tell stadium boosters what they want to hear, but that number stands out as above and beyond the pale even by the usual standards. Even accepting that it’s just economic “impact” (i.e., the sum total of all money changing hands in Vegas that can reasonably be said to have anything to do with the stadium), Rosentraub estimates that the stadium could host 15 events a year that would average 31,500 people … which means that that impact figure is totally reachable so long as each and every Electric Daisy Carnival patron spends $832 during their visit. (If you assume a high multiplier for re-spending of money locally, you could cut that to $500-600.) And that’s assuming that everyone attending these events would otherwise not be coming to Las Vegas at all — because after all, what else is there to do there anyway?
Anyway, while all the press coverage described Friday’s announcement as a “major hurdle,” it looks like the actual major hurdle will come in 2013, when the state legislature needs to vote on approving a special sales tax district to kick back tax money to help pay for this beast. From all accounts there isn’t very strong opposition, but no doubt economic reports like Rosentraub’s are designed to disperse any before it gets started.