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April 25, 2015

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Planned stadium will be state’s ‘next big thing,’ UNLV official says


Paul Takahashi

A model of the UNLV Now stadium project is shown here at the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. UNLV and its private developer partners updated regents on the project, which now features a 100-yard-long video screen and six VIP suites seating 300 people.

Updated Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 | 5:31 p.m.

UNLV Now Stadium Renderings

UNLV Now mega events center rendering. Launch slideshow »

UNLV Now Stadium

A model of the UNLV Now stadium project is shown here at the Nevada System of Higher Education's Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. UNLV and its private developer partners updated regents on the project, which now features a 100-yard-long video screen and six VIP suites seating 300 people. Launch slideshow »

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UNLV's 60,000-seat stadium proposal will feature a 100-yard-long video screen, making it the “world's largest multimedia immersive experience,” according to developers.

UNLV officials and its private partner, Majestic Realty, presented an update to Nevada's higher education leaders on Friday, revealing more design details and information on the "mega events" stadium – dubbed UNLV Now – and what it is expected to bring to Las Vegas.

"This project is a game changer for UNLV and Las Vegas," said Don Snyder, UNLV Now's project lead. "It's an important and significant project for the state as well. It's the next big thing."

UNLV Now will be fully enclosed, and feature two clubs, six 300-seat VIP suites, and more than 50 conventional suites seating 10 to 24 guests.

Developers still have not put a price on the center – widely reported to be in the neighborhood of $800 million – but Snyder confirmed UNLV would be seeking more private funding beyond what Majestic provides. The Las Vegas Area Convention and Visitors Authority, casinos and hotels – "the industry" as Snyder called it – also will be asked to contribute an undetermined amount toward the stadium.

"This is a three-way partnership between UNLV, our private partner (Majestic) and the industry," Snyder said, "It's natural that they play a role."

Snyder has talked with many of the major casino and hotel executives in town, and said he is confident the hospitality industry will help fund UNLV Now because the stadium would extend their ability to put more "heads in beds."

"Nobody has said we don't need this stadium," Snyder said, referring to his conversation with Strip resort executives. "There is broad-based support for this project."

A study by the University of Michigan’s Center for Sport Management determined that with 15 events annually, a mega-events center would produce a total of $393.2 million in new direct spending for Las Vegas' hospitality sector.

These new events might include a Mountain West Conference football championship game, a new college football bowl game, a NFL exhibition game, the UFC International Fight Week, a championship boxing match, a soccer expo, a smaller Electric Daisy Carnival music festival, the American Country Music awards and touring concerts.

"We will secure a lot more events if we have this stadium," said Pat Christenson, the president of Las Vegas Events, which seeks to attract major events to southern Nevada. "Because this venue itself will become an attraction, it's going to help sell more tickets. With the event, the Las Vegas (Strip) and the venue, it's going to be a highly powerful marketing combination."

Craig Cavileer, Silverton resort president and Majestic’s project representative to UNLV Now, said the stadium would be more on the order of a giant theater with the 100-yard-long video screen and interactive lights.

He said the design elements drew from Cowboys Stadium – which opened in 2009 in Dallas and plays host to everything from NFL football games, the Cotton Bowl Classic, NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament games and concerts – and London's Olympic Stadium, which was constructed for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The centerpiece of the UNLV stadium will be monstrous video screen, which Cavileer said would be viewable from 80 percent of the seats in the venue. The main screen would be a full 40 yards longer than the one in Cowboys Stadium, which currently is the largest high-definition video screen in the world. Plans also call for smaller video screens in each of the stadium's four corners.

"When Vegas puts on a show, people expect something amazing," Cavileer said. "People are going to expect an over-the-top facility. (UNLV Now) should be phenomenal and iconic."

Dan Meis, an architect with Woods Bagot, worked with Cavileer on the Staples Center in Los Angeles and is designing the UNLV stadium.

Friday's presentation to the Nevada System of Higher Education regents was for information only; regents will be presented with the estimated costs during a public workshop, scheduled for Feb. 22.

Meanwhile, Snyder said the stadium was entering a "critical phase" in the coming six months. During that period UNLV will be:

• Seeking approval from the Nevada Legislature to allow a tax-increment finance district for the project. If the district is approved, the project would be exempt from paying property, sales and live entertainment taxes for an estimated 25 to 30 years. Developers could still collect those fees and keep the money to help pay off the project’s debt. A similar attempt to allow tax dollars to be used to fund a stadium’s construction failed late in the 2011 session.

• Contacting the LVCVA, hotels and casinos to seek their pledges.

• Seeking approval from regents for an "area plan" for the stadium.

• Completing the "basic economic terms" between Majestic and regents, expected in late February.

If all goes according to plan, UNLV and its developer partners hope to break ground in the next two years. The stadium could be completed by 2017.

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  1. Can't wait to see 10,000 people show up for a Rebel Football game in that stadium. Crickets.

  2. If they actually build this thing, they need to extend the airport connector as a freeway to where the stadium is. Otherwise, the traffic will be atrocious...

  3. People coming to Las Vegas is vital to our survival. This stadium will open many doors to bringing people to our city.

  4. They can't fill Sam Boyd so why build an overpriced boondoggle? What are the priorities for UNLV?

    College football and basketball should be made semi-pro teams (because that's what they are) whose only link to the college is that the college is a sponsor.

  5. If an actuary can put the numbers together based on current attendance at UNLV football, basketball, concerts, PBR and other events and crunch it to show this is a viable, profit making endeavor...then build it. The problem always, always comes down to inflated numbers. Find an outside, impartial company to crunch the numbers. It's math, numbers don't lie. Always go with the low estimates as a basis and make sure the taxpayer (if taxpayer dollars are used) has an advocate during the process. A monkey could have crunched the monorail numbers and figured out it wasn't going to be profitable. This can't be that difficult.

  6. We are ending a week of CES. One of many events that come to town and max Vegas out of convention space. And yet, the unemployed, living in mom's basement,nay-sayers show up asking "where's the people to fill this place?"

    Vegas has been in need of an event center of this size for years.

  7. ... Ah: Memories-OF-Boyd Stadium, with sewage/swamp aroma's wafting over thee UNLV football games there! & my reviewing concerts for "Billboard Magazine," such as "Yes," "Genesis" (with Phil Collins), "AC/DC," etc. ('75-'79)

  8. Two-thirds of funding should be private as break even or make money stadiums are a fairy tale.

    If it doesn't pass muster with NFL HQ for Super Bowls and have flexibility for the extra seating, what's the point?

  9. Just please don't make us park in parking garages.

  10. I for one am very excited about this. This is exactly what the city needs. You have to remember this is not just for UNLV football, there are many other events that will be included. NFR is in town for how many days??? So how many days will be used for that??? And reality is, if you oppose the stadium now chances are you will not be going to watch any of the events so traffic down there will not matter to you, but for me Yes traffic will suck but go to other cities and look at their traffic, it is worse, and will be worse after this stadium is built.

    I really like the comment by MrLucky....He predicts an average attendance of nearly 9 thousand...just to make that sound bad...but then comes back and says just will till traffic of 10,000 plus added to the average attendance already...just to make that sound bad too!! So pick your poison MrLucky...choose one to complain about...

    With gaming becoming legalized in numerous other states and Indian reservations Las Vegas has to think of other ways to produce revenue...And a MegaEvents center seems like a good plan...Reno is hurting right now because they became too dependant on gaming and they are really suffering right now

  11. So...everyone attending a UNLV game gets a free VIP seat?

    "Developers still have not put a price on the center" and why should they when the taxpayers are going ot get stuck with the bill for a stadium for America's WORST football team.

    Sober up down there; you can't pay your police or your firemen or your teachers, you're already out of water, your crime rate is out of sight, and you want a $billion stadium?!?

  12. Lovely stadium, but they are already passing the begging bowl to get it built.
    The projections that 15 events generates $300 revenue locally seems to suggest that each event sells 60,000 tickets and every ticket-holder spends $330 each.
    Once again we are getting sold a project by very optimistic revenue projections.

    The one question that I want to know, and which no supporter of the stadium is willing to answer is this:
    If the project suffers cost overruns and/or revenue shortages, who will be responsible for the debts?

    The supporters will jump on me as usual saying I am a negative busy-body, but I have sat through a monorail, Springs Preserve and a Mob Museum which have all failed in their projections.
    I do not want to see UNLV and taxpayers on the hook for debts of hundreds of millions of dollars that castrate the finances for many years, whilst a property developers makes millions and walks away with a free stadium.

  13. So many cry babies.......The University should be a city unto itself. I couldn't choose my parents, where I was born, but my first major adult choice I made was where I would like to go to college I chose UNLV for Hotel/Marketing.
    It was a blast then I can only imagine when they get it done.
    All the best Rebs!

  14. LAS VEGAS SOCCER CITY - I am absolutely THRILLED, that Vegas is actually pulling this off! These are FANTASTIC News and a giant leap towards a more mature city. The Stadium looks absolutely beautiful and 60000 is big, really big! I sincerely hope, that the right infrastructure will be built around it: A Monorail station and highway access are a MUST! And Vegas must put ALL EFFORD in getting a professional MLS Soccer Team! Soccer is by far the biggest global sports, in Europe, Africa and South America, it's a religion, and in Asia, its popularity is skyrocketing. The MLS has the brightest future compared to other US leagues, while some of them are even on the decline. Make Vegas the Soccer Capital of the USA! How? Build cheap training grounds close to the hotels and invite European and South American top teams to Vegas for their winter and summer camps! Currently, they all go to Citys like Dubai and Doha, where friendly mini-tournaments draw the attention of the whole world to these cities. Try to host the "FIFA Club World Cup", which usually is hosted in Japan or some Arab country. This is the highest achievement, any soccer club can reach for, and the FIFA would be more than delighted to host this annual event in such a fantastic city as Vegas! THIS STADIUM IS A GAMECHANGER and may I please suggest a name for that place, that won't be forgotten by any visitor? "UNLV Elvis Presley Arena"

  15. I cannot understand some negative comments here on this page. If this negativity was around 30 years ago, the Strip would never have been developed and Vegas would look more like Kingman, AZ, not Vegas. And all those discussions about taxpayer money, to hell with that! Why did You guys move to Vegas? Just to avoid taxes in the first place? This is YOUR city! This is your HOMETOWN! If US-Money is spend to improve YOUR city, then it should be YOU, who gets excited, while people from other cities and states should complain! A stadium like this is the best way to spend taxpayers money, regarding long term benefits. Much better than spending all your money for stupid drone attacks in Pakistan, which don't show any benefits at all! Why don't you complain about this ridiculous military spending, instead of complaining about BUILDING AMERICA and creating jobs.

  16. 25-30 years and don't have to pay taxes? Cost overruns will be paid by the taxpayer probably. If the NFL doesn't jump on board and give it a shot its a loser. We don't need to build when we can't pay for the essentials like education.
    @Elvegas: Times were different 30 years ago and the hotels didn't get tax dollars to build the mega-resorts or get 30 year differed tax bills.

  17. @chuck333 Pay for education? Compared to other people in the US, Nevadan parents pay ZERO state tax, I would suggest, that they set up a fund, to pay for the education of their kids, when they grow up. And if the State of Nevada doesn't take some money in its hand, to start some serious investing, investing in a city's infrastructure, the result will be devastating: Other cities will compete with LV and they will win, leaving a shrinking or even abandoned city to Nevada.

  18. For the Rebel football team to improve, they also need a much better practice and strength-training facilities.