Have you ever bought anything really expensive that you want but don’t absolutely need, like a car or a house or a Death Star? In my experience, it goes something like this: 1) Figure out what you can afford; 2) Look at what’s available for sale; 3) Cry; 4) Adjust your expectations accordingly; 5) Either buy something within your budget, or decide to just scrap the entire idea and treat yourself to a nice meal instead.
This is, apparently, not how things go in the stadium world, as evidenced by the University of Nevada–Las Vegas’s 11-member stadium panel:
It’s one thing to draft a plan to build a stadium of 45,000 or more seats that could be covered, or at least equipped with a sophisticated shading system like the shading technology at Baylor’s new football stadium.
That’s the easy part for the 11 members, who include executives representing five of the six biggest gaming companies in Las Vegas.
It’s quite another thing to find public dollars to pay for the venue that Snyder said is pivotal to UNLV’s aspirations…
The panel’s consultant, Bill Rhoda, principal of CSL International, didn’t have great news for the board on the funding front, noting there are limited public-money options at the local level.
And he doubted that any high rollers would be willing to cough up millions of dollars in suite and seat rights.
“It’s not going to be easy to raise $200 million in seat rights,” Rhoda told the Review-Journal after the 2½-hour meeting.
Yes indeed, it’s hard to find $900 million for a 60,000-seat domed college football stadium for a program that has had a winning record once in the last 13 years and resorted to giving away tickets for free to get people to go to its last home opener. You might even wonder if the benefits will be worth the cost — but that’s not how big thinkers operate:
“We have to look creatively,” said stadium board Chairman Don Snyder, UNLV’s acting president. … No longer was Snyder rolling out his pet phrase of “game changer” to describe the stadium wish. Now, he’s using another phrase — “thinking outside the box” — to describe what it will take to pay for the proposed venue.