Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 | 12:43 p.m.
On his first day at work, when the Raiders stadium was little more than a dirt lot, Andy Nelson stood where the end zone will be and did his own touchdown celebration.
He’s a plumber working on the stadium, a born-and-raised Las Vegan, and he’s been a Raiders fan since he was a boy. It was an emotional day for Nelson.
Today, he and hundreds of other workers celebrated a milestone in the stadium’s construction, as the final steel beam was set into place.
The stadium — the team announced today it will be called Allegiant Stadium — is on track to be finished for the 2020 season. It is now about 55 to 65 percent finished.
“To build my team’s stadium in my hometown, it’s like a dream come true,” Nelson said. “I get excited every day coming to work. I get tingles. I love coming to work every day.”
Nelson has contributed to the 2.75 million man hours put into the $1.88 billion stadium since its groundbreaking in September 2017.
The Raiders also used today’s topping-out ceremony to announce a partnership with Allegiant Air — a company headquartered in Las Vegas — that includes stadium naming rights.
“It speaks volumes about the Raiders and their commitment to Southern Nevada to be able to pick a local Las Vegas-based company,” Allegiant Chief Marketing Officer Scott DeAngelo said. “There is clear demand for Las Vegas as an NFL destination.”
Allegiant flies direct from Las Vegas to eight markets with NFL teams, and though DeAngelo did not offer any specifics, he said to expect more Allegiant flights to and from Las Vegas on weekends the Raiders have home games.
The topping-out ceremony was a who’s who of Las Vegas dignitaries and business leaders, including Raiders owner Mark Davis, Allegiant executives and lawmakers.
Davis said the Raiders plan to earn a loyal following, much as the Vegas Golden Knights have with hockey fans. “We’re going to earn their love, and they’re going to understand that the Raiders are part of this community,” he said.
Nelson doesn’t need any convincing. A year from now, he’ll be rooting for his team in his city in a stadium he helped build.
“What more could you ask for?” Nelson said. “I can’t wait.”