Monday, June 24, 2019 | 2 a.m.
If you want to watch a football game in the new Las Vegas Stadium but you don’t want to shell out thousands to see the NFL, UNLV could be an affordable alternative.
That’s the message university officials are preaching this summer as they eye the 2020 move into the $1.8 billion stadium off Interstate 15 and Russell Road that will be shared with the Raiders.
“There’s a ticket for every wallet,” said Megan Caligiuri, the Associate Athletics Director for Content Creation and Fan Engagement.
The message has apparently been received by locals, hundreds of whom have secured tickets for the next two seasons in the “Faithful Fan Pricing." In the promotion, the rate per game for season-ticket holders in 2019 for the final year at Sam Boyd Stadium will be the same in the first year at the new stadium for a comparable seat. Tickets range from $99-$305 for the six-game 2019 season.
As of June 20, there have been 830 new season tickets sold, easily surpassing the 400 sold in 2018. Officials project the next two months of sales will bring totals to their highest in nearly a decade, topping the 1,084 new season tickets sold amid the excitement of coach Tony Sanchez’s first season of 2015.
In 2010, when the Rebels hosted Wisconsin, 2,602 new tickets were sold, many of which went to Badger fans, who realized it would be more affordable to buy season tickets than scramble for one game on the inflated secondary market.
UNLV had 4,025 total season-ticket holders in 2018, 85-90% of whom are expected to renew their seats, officials said.
“It’s all about (giving fans) the opportunity to access the new stadium,” said Blair DeBord, the senior director of development and administration at UNLV, who is helping lead the ticket sales charge. “That’s how we approach a lot of our (pricing) decisions.”
And in 2021, the second year in the stadium, the university doesn’t plan a significant price increase for tickets, claiming they are determined to keep it affordable. Or, as Caligiuri and DeBord repeatedly said, “a ticket for every wallet.”
The interest fulfills the hope of university officials, who are convinced the program will see a spike in attendance at the new stadium, where they aspire to fill the 27,000-seat lower bowl each Saturday in the fall.
“That would maximize our ability to have a true college experience,” DeBord said.
Officials aren’t bashing Sam Boyd, where the Rebels last season averaged 16,822 fans per game, on the way out. In fact, they plan to celebrate UNLV’s 49-year history at the east Las Vegas facility with a season-long farewell celebration.
While nothing will measure up to the multibillion-dollar stadium they are transitioning to, they stress the charm of Sam Boyd is significant for officials and fans alike. So significant that officials suspect some new season tickets are longtime residents wanting to be part of the final season.
“Our sales team (reports) that people are also excited about the last season at Sam Boyd,” DeBord said.
Yet the anticipation of finally getting to the new stadium will be the talk of the season. The stadium will have all the bells and whistles of a modern facility, such as 21-inch wide padded seats instead of the metal benches at Sam Boyd, and a covered playing surface. Imagine early September games played in a controlled climate at 75 degrees instead of the those windy, 110-degree nights at Sam Boyd.
“Finally, Las Vegas is getting the state-of-the-art stadium it deserves,” DeBord said.
Fans who buy tickets for the 2019 season and also join the Rebel Athletic Fund (as little as $25 to become a member) will have first access to seat selection at the new stadium in 2020.
The university last week announced pricing for VIP Field Club Seats on the 50-yard line and suite pricing for the new stadium. Pricing for the season ranges from $22,000 to $40,000 for the suites and $2,000 to $2,500 per VIP club seat for the season.