By Alan Snel of LVSportsBiz.com
Thursday afternoon, barely twelve people found themselves in the boardroom of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This quiet, gray room is normally where local Las Vegas tourism titans unveil their advertising campaigns and PR strategies to show the public how the state-owned tourism agency LVCVA will sell Las Vegas to the world.
But no Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board meeting today. Oh no. Instead, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority’s board of directors was in session. These are the people who sit on a public panel that oversees the domed NFL stadium built, used and managed by one of Las Vegas’ most popular new residents – the Raiders.
In pre-pandemic times, when the Raiders’ stadium was under construction, these stadium meetings were bustling gatherings of lively civic activity.
Five years ago, the Raiders and their political friends like Steve Sisiolak declared in Las Vegas that the stadium would practically be a money geyser for everyone. And as a result, a merry band of enterprising businessmen chasing the money and union construction workers chomping at the bit to move dirt filled stadium board meetings. I even remember the day Sisolak threw nerf footballs at the union guys before a stadium meeting to refresh the guys.
Today’s stadium board meeting didn’t quite have the flair of Sisolak igniting the crowd like a talk show producer stoking an audience for The Jerry Springer Show. Steve Hill, the LVCVA boss who also moonlights as chairman of the stadium board, called the stadium meeting for 1 p.m.
At 1:59 p.m., the party was over.
If you’ve been parachuted into today’s stadium meeting from, say, Winnemucca or Elko and you knew nothing about the stadium’s board of directors, you’d think that this public panel acted as a public relations arm of the Raiders. Hill, a friendly guy who moved from the concrete business at the state’s economic development agency to the LVCVA’s leadership position, mentioned how happy he was that the Raiders named Sandra Douglass Morgan as their new president. team five weeks ago.
Hill even half-joked (or maybe 10% joked, it was hard to tell) that he had said the most gracious things about Morgan to a local newspaper reporter but – wait for it. — those jokes didn’t quite make it to the final Edit story.
Oh the horror!
Hill also told the dozen people in the audience that “it’s going to be a great season” for the Raiders. But you still have to cover your bases these days, so Hill also noted that “the Raiders are playing in a tough division.”
The reunion was pretty much a recap of how well things were going at the stadium.
Adam Feldman, a dark-suited Raiders staffer on the humid, 100-degree day, recited the number of events at the stadium.
Sure, there were Raiders and UNLV football games, concerts and an NFL Pro Bowl, a county music awards show and Sisolak State’s state address in the first quarter of 2022.
But it’s clear from this list that the vast majority of events are “private events” that could easily have taken place at any nice hotel on the Strip.
The Raiders are hiring women and minorities at the stadium at a higher rate than targets specified in what is known as the stadium’s “community benefits plan”. Under the 2016 state law that created the stadium for the Raiders, there are no required hiring quotas. Instead, they are goals, and the Raiders exceed those levels of workforce diversity.
Feldman also described the team’s community work, such as providing back-to-school haircuts, honoring teachers, donating $100,000 to prevent suicide in the LGBTQ community, hosting a justice roundtable social, organize a supplier diversity event at the stadium and show the police around the stadium. Indeed, community service reflects the values of Raiders owner Mark Davis, one of the most socially conscious and down-to-earth owners in the NFL.
But all of these admirable things must be placed in the public policy context of a deal that has contributed $750 million in public dollars to building a revenue-generating stadium that has also enriched Davis and enhanced the value of his franchise. hundreds of millions of dollars. Technically speaking, Southern Nevada will need to raise more than $1 billion over a 30-year debt repayment period to fund the $750 million stadium construction grant.
In the interest of full disclosure, LVSportsBiz.com participated in the meeting’s public comment period asking the stadium board to work with the Raiders to install more bike racks in the stadium. During Sunday’s Vikings-Raiders preseason game at Allegiant Stadium, the bike rack at the southwest entrance was full three hours before the game.
After the meeting, Chris Sotiropulos, the Raiders’ vice president for stadium operations, told LVSportsBiz.com that a plan was in place to add more bike racks for the 2022 NFL season.
Now, will the Raiders have more wins than new stadium bike racks?
Stay tuned. As Hill told the warm audience of 12 today, “It’s going to be a great season.”