Adelson says Vegas stadium cost could be $2.1B, does $1B in public cash sound better now?

The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee met yesterday as planned to discuss Sheldon Adelson’s proposed stadium to bring the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, and discussed nine possible stadium sites and holy mother of God:

The estimated price tag has gone up, from an initial $1.4 billion to possibly as much as $2.1 billion. The rise in price would be in part due to land acquisitions, as well as the stadium now being proposed as a retractable dome.

(Props to NBC’s Mike Florio for noting that ESPN totally buried the lede on this one, though not nearly as badly as Adelson’s own Las Vegas Review-Journal did.)

Land acquisition money was expected to be a problem, though not $700 million worth of problem. (Adelson and his partners actually estimated the cost at between $1.7 billion and $2.1 billion, according to the Las Vegas Sun, apparently the only paper whose reporter  showed up at the hearing with a notepad.) A retractable roof — which Raiders owner Mark Davis now says he’d prefer — could add up to a large chunk of that cost, though, given how pricey those are to build.

This doesn’t change the estimated public price tag for the stadium, which is holding steady at right around $1 billion, but it does make a $1 billion expenditure seem slightly less exorbitant, maybe, if throwing a billion dollars in taxpayer cash at a $2 billion project sounds less wasteful than throwing a billion dollars at a $1.4 billion project. (There’s no reason it would be, but, you know, anchoring.) Why, you’d almost have to wonder if Adelson and Davis had that in mind when they released their new, bulkier cost estimates … but no, that would be devious and calculating, and billionaire casino owners/political kingmakers and sports team owners would never do a thing like that, right?

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14 comments on “Adelson says Vegas stadium cost could be $2.1B, does $1B in public cash sound better now?

  1. “But hey, now you’d only have to pay half of the cost instead of a whole two-third!” sounds exactly like the kind of line that an alliance like that could use. The morbid thing is that it just might work in the end.

  2. And all for a building that would be used 1,000 times, in 100 years. Or actually, it would be used about 200 times, before they start saying they need another billion for a new one.

    Why don’t cities just tell them to go to hell? What is so prestigious about having this WWE clown-show in your city? Brian Tuohy pretty much convinced me.

    1. To add to that, a retractable roof in a city that gets no ice or snow, and four inches of rain a year.

      1. Not only that, but apparently Davis’ preference is to play on a natural grass surface and a retractable doom a la Arizona. It’s amazing how many goodies one can wish for when one isn’t footing any of the bill (trust me, Davis isn’t spending a single penny on this).

        1. For $2B it better have the Cardinals grass rollout system…the cup holders can’t be That nice.

  3. Raise the costs in an attempt to deter the Fertitta’s from potentially getting involved with his scheme?

  4. “To add to that, a retractable roof in a city that gets no ice or snow, and four inches of rain a year.”

    Hey, if the Arlington Rangers need air conditioning (and they play most of their games at night) then surely the LV Raiders deserve the same. Imagine getting a brand-new stadium and finding out your place isn’t even as cool (literally) as the Arizona Cardinals’, and theirs is practically obsolete.

  5. Nevertheless, most elected officials in Nevada and elsewhere end up supporting such schemes as spending public money for the private benefit of the wealthy. Sports teams are private businesses and should be paid for only by private money. It is simply ridiculous in a city such as Las Vegas, which has many wealthy private companies and individuals who can easily pay for a sports team, that they are attempting to get politicians to support their private business.

    1. I’m not sure which private companies Las Vegas has. I can count the wealthy private individuals on one hand: Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.

      If you get off the controlled fantasy of the strip, Las Vegas is Detroit.

      That makes them the perfect victim for sports teams. Only if a city has an inferiority complex can they be fleeced. Otherwise, they are just as likely to give the sports teams the finger.

      I take it as a sign of how much Oakland has gentrified in recent years that they have joined San Francisco in the finger-giving club.

  6. Jesus H. Christ,

    $2 billion for a single building? Really? A building that will be used at most 20 times a year? Really? They can jack up the price as much as they want to try and justify the $1 billion in public funds they claim they need; but based on the recent social unrest and how critically underfunded social and public services are in this state, good luck trying to find empathy for a bunch of billionaires looking for a handout. It’s bad enough the county is basically extorting the public with a fuel-indexing measure on the ballot (i.e. either you pass this tax initiative that isn’t properly indexed for inflation or we don’t finish the roads).

    1. I don’t know. Las Vegas seems to always find the sensible thing to do, and then does the opposite. Stupidity is Las Vegas’ raison d’etre. Why would they change now?

  7. Has MGM Resorts (who own not just the MGM, but most of the west side of The Strip) taken a position on all of this?

    I wouldn’t want my guests to be paying for a tax that will go to a competitor so he can build a facility that will compete against mine.

    1. “…paying for a tax that will go to a competitor so he can build a facility that will compete against mine.”

      That happens much of the time with TIFs and TIF clones.

      1. But in most cases, the other party isn’t as influential as MGM Resorts, who own or have part ownership in

        Bellagio
        Circus Circus Las Vegas
        Aria Resort & Casino
        Mandarin Oriental
        Vdara
        Veer Towers
        Excalibur
        Luxor
        Mandalay Bay
        Delano Las Vegas
        Mandalay Bay Convention Center
        Mandalay Bay Events Center
        MGM Grand Las Vegas
        MGM Grand Garden Arena
        Skylofts at MGM Grand
        The Mansion at MGM Grand
        The Signature at MGM Grand (50% joint venture with Turnberry Associates)[185]
        The Mirage
        Monte Carlo
        New York-New York
        T-Mobile Arena (50% joint venture with AEG)
        Las Vegas Festival Grounds (joint venture with Cirque du Soleil and Yucaipa Companies)

        Adelson, on the other hand only owns two casinos and a convention center in Las Vegas. And a newspaper.

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