The first few months for the UNLV stadium board members have been like a pregame warm-up. The board has mostly limbered up with facts about other on-campus stadiums, studied the previous UNLV stadium proposal and schmoozed before meetings.
But now it’s game time for the 11-member team of hotel-casino executives, university system regents and local officials. Time to buckle that chin strap and start delivering — and absorbing — public-policy stadium hits.
That’s because the much-awaited hired gun — a high-powered consultant with a list of big-league stadium and sports team clients as long as a football field — is finally onboard to coach the stadium panel.
With Bill Rhoda and his eight-member CSL International team from Dallas signed up, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas board will soon tackle major issues that the consultant will analyze.
Those hard-hitting topics are the stadium’s cost, how many seats it should have and whether it should be open-air, domed, retractable-roof or shaded.
And the multimillion-dollar question: how will UNLV, the resort industry and public pay for this stadium when UNLV could not muster a viable funding model for the plan it scrapped last year?
But who are these 11 UNLV stadium board members who will eventually digest the consultant’s stadium findings and deliver a final report to the Nevada Legislature by Sept. 30?
The quarterback is board chairman Don Snyder, a crafty veteran who called the signals for the Fremont Street Experience and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts before becoming field general for UNLV’s stadium aspirations.
The featured back is stadium board member Rick Arpin, an MGM Resorts International finance executive who is a two-way player — his day job involves building MGM Resorts’ $350 million, 20,000-seat arena on the Strip. Arpin, who hopes to see the MGM Resorts arena open in 2016, has been a key stadium panel member particularly valuable for his insights on construction.
The board composition is heavy on casino company representatives because UNLV needs some level of resort industry financial backing to push the stadium project across the goal line.
Besides Arpin, the roster includes Kim Sinatra of Wynn Resorts Ltd.; Sean McBurney of Caesars Entertainment Corp.; Paul Chakmak of Boyd Gaming Corp.; and Kirk Hendrick of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which has contacts with Stations Casinos through the Fertitta family.
UNLV hopes the casino representatives run interference to get Southern Nevada’s resort and tourism industry onboard with the stadium.
Representing the state are three regents: Cedric Crear, James Dean Leavitt and Michael Wixom. Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who has floated the idea of adding a UNLV medical school to the stadium proposal, rounds out the squad.
Business writer Alan Snel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow Snel on Twitter at @BicycleManSnel.