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September 24, 2017

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Raiders, UNLV still must diagram how they’ll play together in new yard

Image

Courtesy of MANICA Architecture

A look at the proposed $1.9 billion domed football stadium for the Oakland Raiders and UNLV football in Las Vegas.

Before they can play together, they first must play nice.

The Raiders and UNLV football will both play games in the same new stadium in 2020, but they must establish the ground rules for how they share the $1.9 billion jewel in the coming months.

The UNLV Joint Use Agreement, as it is referenced in official documents, tops Thursday’s meeting agenda for the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board. The board will discuss progress on talks between the team and the university, but will not take any action.

Gerry Bomotti, UNLV senior vice president for finance and business, characterized discussions with the Raiders as preliminary.

“We’ve only had an initial discussion, and I think it was positive,” Bomotti said. “But certainly over the course of the next couple of months, I would expect a lot of meetings and discussions.”

The Raiders delayed additional talks with the university so they could focus on completing their stadium lease agreement with the Stadium Authority. The team’s relocation application to the NFL received approval with the condition that the lease be finished in time for league owners to bless it at their May meetings in Chicago. With the lease out of the way, an agreement with UNLV reemerges as a top priority for the team.

UNLV’s priority in negotiations will be ensuring a home-field advantage in a facility where the Raiders will enjoy primary tenancy, Bomotti said. That includes field markings in UNLV colors, game-day control of video boards for sponsors and marketing, and use of luxury suites and club seating to accommodate the university’s athletics donor base.

“Certainly there's general agreement that we would be able to sell some of these VIP seats and keep the revenue, but part of our goal has to be, how many people do we think we can sell it to and for what cost,” Bomotti said. “We have to do all that work with the athletics folks.”

Determining realistic attendance goals will prove an important piece of the negotiations. The Rebels averaged less than 19,000 fans per home game at Sam Boyd Stadium last season, a number of people that would look sparse inside the new 65,000-seat facility.

“I think it’ll be a while before our football team would have 65,000 people,” Bomotti said. “I think we’ll get to that someday.”

Until then, UNLV will discuss with the team the possibility of draping off the upper deck in the new stadium to create a cozier atmosphere for its smaller crowds.

“If you put 25,000 people scattered across 65,000 seats, you have a different environment than if you have 30,000 people in one place,” Bomotti said.

In addition to the UNLV document, the board will receive a status update on the personal seat license (PSL) agreement that must be agreed upon by the team’s events company and the Stadium Authority. The Raiders began accepting refundable $100 PSL deposits immediately after receiving NFL approval for their move to Las Vegas. Raiders President Marc Badain said last month that the team collected more than 46,000 deposits, half of which arrived in the first day of sales.

“The response was overwhelming,” Badain said at the time. “It was pretty exciting for all of us just to see the first-day response, and then it’s continued.”

Fans wishing to purchase Raiders season tickets must first buy a license, or PSL, to do so. The cost of the license will vary greatly based on the quality of the seat, likely ranging from hundreds of dollars for the upper deck to five figures for club-level seating. Each deposit entitles a buyer to purchase up to four season tickets.

The Stadium Authority ultimately will sell the licenses because it will own both the stadium and the 62 acres upon which it will stand. The Raiders will lease the stadium from the Stadium Authority.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center.

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