UNLV scales back stadium plans, hopes casinos will let it have half a billion dollars now

It looks like the University of Nevada-Las Vegas is giving up on building a domed football stadium — at least the domed part. UNLV acting president Don Snyder announced yesterday that the school would be scaling back its plans to only a 45,000-seat stadium with “sun shades.”

The reason? The casinos didn’t want the competition:

[University regents Cedric] Crear and [James Dean] Leavitt have drawn push-back from resort industry representatives such as MGM’s [Rick] Arpin, who said at a recent meeting that a domed stadium could “cannibalize” events from other Las Vegas venues. MGM and Anschutz Entertainment Group are building a 20,000-seat, $375 million arena near New York-New York, scheduled to open in 2016.

At the same meeting, Paul Chakmak of Boyd Gaming Corp. noted, “The resort industry is not asking for a stadium to be built.”

Whatever the reason, a non-domed stadium would cost an estimated $523 million instead of $833 million, so that’s got to be a plus. (It also couldn’t host indoor events, which is what Crear and Leavitt are griping about, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine what indoor events would be worth spending an extra $310 million for.) Snyder says about $100 million could be raised via naming-rights and luxury suite sales, which only leaves $423 million via sales tax hikes or, you know, something. One hurdle at a time.

4 comments on “UNLV scales back stadium plans, hopes casinos will let it have half a billion dollars now

  1. What a novel idea – need a mid-size football stadium, build a mid-size football stadium, instead of a billion dollar retractable-roof dome with 65,000 seats for a bad Mountain West team, a nothing bowl game and *maybe* an occasional Pac-12 title game. And one or two big MMA/boxing events if a huge fight can come together, never mind that 95% of those big fights are already happening in town.

    None of which is to say it’s an especially good idea to spend half a billion on this, but at least it replaces an inconveniently placed dump with something new and on-campus. And hey, at least UNLV won’t move to Cobb County in 15 years.

  2. I’m waiting for the first University to threaten move. The MLS expansion people should get together with UNLV on this project. I never thought about the PAC-12 title game being there, that’d be kind of awesome. Although I wish it would stay on campuses.

  3. Wait, so they’re eliminating the dome… so what’s the point then? Why not simply build a soccer style roof over Sam Boyd and be done with it?

  4. Raiders to San Antonio… thoughts Neil?