Nevada stadium authority chair: Raiders paying no rent in exchange for $750m sounds about right

Hey, remember how Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis proposed paying $1 a year rent to the state of Nevada in exchange for $750 million in stadium subsidies, and we all thought, “Okay, sure he’s going to ask for that, but there’s no reason the state stadium authority needs to take him seriously”? Well, the stadium authority board chair now says $1 a year rent sounds just fine to him:

“It’s based on the fact that the Raiders are going to be investing up to $1.15 billion and certainly taking the risk for any overruns,” board chairman Steve Hill said after the meeting. “So, in order to make that agreement make financial sense, the revenue from the stadium needed to flow to those investors.”

Yes, Davis and his private investors are putting up a lot of money. You know who else is putting up a lot of money? The people of Nevada. And where Davis’s side will have lots of revenue streams like all of the naming rights and ad sales from the stadium to help pay off their share, the state will only have whatever new tax money flows from tourists who weren’t going to go to Las Vegas just because it’s Las Vegas, but now will because it’s Las Vegas with the Raiders, about which sports economist Roger Noll has already said don’t hold your breath. But hey, the main concern of state officials is to cut deals to ensure the profitability of private corporations, right? I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.

It’s up to the stadium authority to determine and sign the lease, with no further input from the state legislature, so Nevada taxpayers are probably doomed. One hopes that at least they’ll manage to get an ironclad non-relocation clause without any “state of the art” loopholes, but with bright lights like Hill in charge, one shouldn’t hope too hard. Too bad Las Vegas doesn’t have anyone living there who has experience negotiating exactly these sorts of clauses and could be brought on to consult on this.

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19 comments on “Nevada stadium authority chair: Raiders paying no rent in exchange for $750m sounds about right

  1. This entire scenario (and ones like it across the nation) can be summed up by this line from the above story: “It’s based on the fact that the Raiders are going to be investing up to $1.15 billion and certainly taking the risk for any overruns,” board chairman Steve Hill said after the meeting.

    Well, gee, Mr. Hill, as a privately-owned business, IT’S THEIR RISK. Why should taxpayers take it in the shorts to placate a business that only puts its products out on display to the folks at home ten times a year? Yet they do, and some dunderheaded fanboys are perfectly fine with that.

    Neil, one of the reasons I love your site is that FoS justifies my turn from supporting big league sports to small college, prep and amateur sports. Coming to this page, for me, is like going to NASCAR to watch the crashes. Keep up the good work…you’ve got plenty of material to work with.

    1. One fanboy I know put it to me this way once:

      “But think of all he’s done for the community!”.

      This was a reaction to an athlete who faced assault allegations, but to me, it represents the broader way some fans think. If they’ve done something for the community, well, they’re excused. Hell, I’ve done stuff for the community too. Who hasn’t? So where’s my “Get out of jail free!”-card?

      1. Exactly. And, if it’s the guy I’m thinking of, groping teenagers is not exactly public service, no matter how much you score on-court.

  2. This reminds me of the scene from Tombstone where Wyatt tells Sheriff Behan the town could use a racetrack and Behan gets excited because it would show how the town had grown up. Exact same principle going on here. They’re willing to throw any amount of money at the Raiders just to be able to say they have an NFL team in town.

  3. I’m in Vegas as I type this getting ready to
    Head home to NJ and everyone here is drinking the KOOL AID as I’ve been told
    Real estate here is booming and houses are only on the market one day and I should buy a house because the RAIDERS
    Are coming and it would be a great investment!!! CRAZY

    1. They’re a funny town with real estate. The absolute craziest stories before the last housing bubble burst were out of Vegas. They had so many speculators there were lines outside homebuilders at dawn before they’d even opened. They were raising prices multiple times per day so the people at the end of the line might have been paying $50K more for the same house as the guy who had been first in line.

      1. True, I’m sure. But at least where I live, it was not uncommon for realtors to hire unemployed actors to pose as suburban couples looking to move up to a house. They would have the actors show up a few minutes after the real customers did. The realtor then acts all flustered and explains that they are 20 minutes early and s/he can’t show them the place now, but if they just wait in the kitchen (and speculate loudly about how much they would be willing to pay for the place) while the current viewing is hastily completed…

        I’ve never taken a realty course. I understand they have a section on ethics as part of same. I wonder what they say about it?

        1. The Ethics section might be a blank page, or it might be titled “humor”.

  4. There was a state senator or assemblyman from Northern Nevada (an older guy who wore a cowboy hat) who said, prior to the vote OKing the implementation of the hotel tax increase, and I’m paraphrasing, “This is a no-brainer. We got no skin in this game, so all we have to do is sit back and watch the money flow (into the state.) I share this to show the level of acumen shown by the decision makers of the Great State of Nevada.

  5. Mr. deMaus, you write as if Mr. Hill came cheaply to us and is some sort of dimwit. I can assure you he drove a hard bargain and is no such thing. As I say so often here, the pols can be divided into two classes – the rubes and the ones who are for sale. Oh, I suppose there’s a third class, the few who troop off to the legislature and try to stop the NFL from bathing at the public trough… as if such a thing were possible!

    1. He is a dimwit just like the rest of them and others who believes this rhetoric. He drove a hard bargain hunh? So hard that the state is indebted for $1.2 billion+ (people conveniently forget the extra $200 million the state decided to pump into this ridiculous deal, plus the $250 million in infrastructure costs) and receives absolutely zero money for its efforts. People continue to say Davis is putting up $500 million yet fail to realize it’s really you the fan who is putting it up, as he is using revenue from PSL sales to cover his portion; and banking on the NFL players to cover the rest (who by the way hasn’t agreed to having their money taken to fund stadiums). Davis is putting up zero money upfront. This has never happened in professional sports.

      I ask again: what makes you think Steve Hill drove a hard bargain? If anything, he and the rest of them bent completely over and got it.

      1. A hard bargain, sir, is when the pol in question wants more from us in exchange for his work on our behalf than we were initially prepared to give him. Try to keep up!

  6. It’s the amounts that kill me. I can see a stadium in Vegas have more success than most- big away fan attraction, PAC12 finals, College Play-off finals, SuperBowls, etc… But 750 million? Insane.

    1. Anything “reasonably priced” is deemed not worth doing, indicative of something less than a “top tier city”. It’s the most often forgotten piece of the whole farce: these facilities –don’t– have to have $500M+ price tags. All part of the game. It’s much easier to convince people you need help paying for it after you’ve convinced them that it has to be a palace. We even see comments here that are anti-subsidy but buy into the idea that they have to cost as much as they do. It ain’t so.

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