Billionaire wants $780m in tax money to build an NFL stadium for him in Las Vegas

We now have a hint of how Sheldon Adelson’s “public-private partnership” for a Las Vegas football stadium would work, and it’d probably be better called a “public-public-private partnership,” or maybe a “publicprivate partnership”:

A domed stadium proposed for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas football team has a price tag of $1.2 billion, and developers would seek $780 million in public financing, according to a document provided by Las Vegas Sands Corp., which is leading a consortium behind the project.

Private investors would contribute $420 million toward the planned 65,000-seat stadium, with various tourist-driven tax sources — commercial conveyance on taxicabs, rental car taxes or hotel room taxes — providing the bulk of the funding.

This is more or less the same funding scheme put forward by UNLV two years ago, except that the stadium price tag has gone up by $300 million since then, so the subsidy demand has as well. Putting in $780 million in tax money would be a stupendous amount of public cash — depending on how you count and whether the stadium would also get property tax breaks (probably), it could end up the most expensive public subsidy ever for a football stadium.

Of course, Adelson’s casino company also provided numbers to justify how this would be a great thing for Clark County to spend money on, telling the newspaper that Adelson owns that “the domed stadium would provide $600 million to $800 million in total annual economic benefit,” which is even more than consultant Convention, Sports and Leisure estimated two years ago.

But, you know, inflation or something. Or maybe just the fact that an extra $300 million in cost means you need an extra $300 million in economic benefit to make it still look good, But surely a consultant owned by the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees would never reverse-engineer figures like that, right?

 


12 comments on “Billionaire wants $780m in tax money to build an NFL stadium for him in Las Vegas

  1. I see. If he agrees with you, then he’s an economist (not an economics professor). If he disagrees with you, then he’s a consultant (not an economist).

  2. I must apologize to my friends at FoS. As always, there is devil in the details. I can tell you now people here in Vegas are furious, as they felt Adelson hood-winked them. There is no way this funding mechanism is going to pass, especially being spearheaded by a man who spent in excess of $200 million on political contributions in 2012. From a man who filed for bankruptcy to avoid paying his contractors in building the Venetian.

  3. What’s Ben’s beef anyways? Employed in the tax subsidy industry?

    It seems obvious that anyone can be a consultant as there is no particular requirement to be one and they can play around with IO tables to create large numbers for publication in a report. Look, I’m a consultant!

  4. Ben,

    Typically, the definition of an economist is a person with a PhD in economics or a related discipline, working or teaching in the field. Consulant work in the public sector varies greatly in quality and thoroughness, particularly when the “customer” is clearly looking for a certain type of answer. These kinds of relationships got the accounting industry in a lot of trouble post 2008-09.

    A consultant could certainly be an economist, or use economics techniques, or not. However, a search of their website didn’t find anyone claiming to be an “economist” or having training other than business administration. There are lots of people who have previous experience in arena management and construction. Not sure how much credibility they have on projecting economic impact.

  5. Ben, I don’t think even CSL’s staffers would claim they’re economists. They’re guys with a copy of Excel and a client, just like you or me (except for the client part).

  6. I’m assuming since the land is owned by a public university it will be property tax exempt.

  7. I doubt the stadium would pass if it were 1/3 public money, much less 2/3. Sheldon Adelson has 28 billion. He’s more than capible of building it himself, name it after himself, add to his legacy and feed his ego. Sheldon threw away $200 million on losers last election cycle, wouldn’t be surprised if he wastes $300 million this time around against Hillary….. that’s a lot of yard signs to throw away- why not build something instead? At least Stan Kroenke seeked his loan from JP Morgan instead of scheming public money.

  8. A stupendous amount of public cash sounds good to me! It would certainly lift this post-Kroenke funk I’ve been in.

  9. So now these billionaire small government right wingers want government to spend money.

  10. Sheldon Anderson, of course, now owns the Review-Journal — which he essentially used as a conduit to shill for his theoretical stadium which would be built using public funds.

    Funny how that works.