Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 1 in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 17, to finalize plans for a new football stadium after calling a special session on Thursday in Carson City.
SB-1 paves the way for the stadium to be built in Las Vegas, and backers hope to attract the Oakland Raiders to relocate to the state.
The spotlight now turns to the 32 owners of the Raiders. In order for the franchise to relocate, 24 owners would have to approve the move. The decision is expected in January when the owners meet again in Houston, Texas.
The stadium is expected to cost about $1.9 billion to build. $500 million will be provided by the Raiders and $650 million by Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. The other $750 million will be funded by Las Vegas tourists. Taxes on hotel rooms will increase by $1.38 every $100. Taxing will start Jan. 1.
The Nevada Department of Transportation stated that $900 million in planned road construction would need to be pushed forward in order to compensate for the traffic the new stadium will bring.
“As a Nevada resident, I am okay with [the stadium],” said Steven Coon, a student at the University of Nevada, Reno. “It could mean hectic traffic and potential mayhem because of the nature of the team, but I feel financially it could do the city some good if they use the money properly.”
In order for SB-1 to pass, two-thirds of the Assembly and Senate had to approve the legislation. They approved the bill on Friday, Oct. 14.
If the Raiders move to Las Vegas, this would be the second time in under 40 years the team will have left Oakland. However, the fans and members of the city won’t let them leave without a fight.
“There is a long and complicated history between this team and this city,” said Oakland City Mayor Libby Schaaf to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We’ve learned from the mistakes of the past and we won’t repeat them. Oakland is neither rolling over nor giving up. Now is the time for everyone in our region to pull together to show the NFL and the Raiders that their future is in Oakland.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not support the team’s potential move to Las Vegas.
“Well, you never want to see a community lose their franchise once, much less twice,” Goodell said to the Associated Press. “That’s why we work so hard with our communities to say, ‘This is what you have to try to get to,’ because you need to try to make sure this franchise continues to be successful.”
The stadium project will continue even if the NFL team does not relocate. A smaller stadium will be built for UNLV if the university can raise $200 million in private funds within a span of two years. The hotel room tax will also decrease so that it would generate $300 million for the project.
Stadium backers believe that bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas could benefit Nevada’s economy. However, those against the stadium disagree.
The stadium would be owned by the public, but the revenue generated from the Raiders and other events hosted there will be directed back to the private investors, which was the main reason some Nevada lawmakers opposed the bill.
“It is really hard to say if the new stadium is going to bring long-term economic benefit to Nevada,” said Mehmet S. Tosun, chair of the Economics Department at UNR. “The new stadium is thought to have a positive economic impact through jobs created to build and operate it. The economic impact through job creation will likely be short-term, whereas the cost would be over a longer period of time.
Even though the tax increase would be borne by nonresidents, we are still talking about tax revenue that could be used elsewhere in the government, particularly in important government programs such as education, health care and infrastructure. Also, this may not be best timing since the state may face a budget shortfall in the next budget cycle.”
Darion Strugs, a resident of Las Vegas and a student at UNR, agrees the money should be used elsewhere.
“The money being put into trying to get a below-average team to Vegas is way too high,” said Strugs. “I’d rather have the effort being put into education or maybe even the hockey team that’s going to be here in a couple of years.”
Strugs is referring to the new NHL expansion team Las Vegas has brought to the city. The team is expected to start playing in the new T-Mobile Arena next year.
The football stadium is expected to be finished in time for the Raiders to play in Las Vegas by the 2020 season.
Madeline Purdue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.