It figured that Don Webb would be asked a few taxing questions when making a lunch presentation to the Nevada Republican Club.
Webb, chief operating officer of the Raiders’ stadium construction subsidiary, delivered on that and gave updates on stadium parking and tailgating at a recent presentation at Cili, a restaurant at the Bali Hai Golf Course, which at one time was viewed as a possible parking and tailgating destination.
And it still isn’t.
“So I should talk about taxes at a Republican luncheon,” Webb mused amid the chuckles of about 100 who attended.
Webb said the $750 million public contribution to stadium construction represents about 38 percent of the total construction cost with the Raiders supplying the rest through its own resources and an NFL loan.
The public contribution was designated in Senate Bill 1, the legislation approved in a special session of the Nevada Legislature in October 2016. Republicans generally oppose taxes, but Webb said the resort industry supported the legislation because hoteliers viewed it as “a self-imposed fee.”
“They fought hard for it because they saw what it would do for their business,” he said, “not for Raiders games necessarily, but for those concerts.”
He was referring to the dozens of special events that will be hosted at Allegiant Stadium in addition to the Raiders’ 10-game season and pre-season.
“One of the really intriguing attributes of the stadium in this market is that it’s not just a football stadium,” he said. “It’s a venue that will be the largest entertainment venue in what is arguably the world’s entertainment capital.”
He also expects tourism to be enhanced with fans of Raiders rivals buying tickets when their teams play in Las Vegas.
It’s a similar pattern experienced by the Vegas Golden Knights, who often see hundreds of fans wearing sweaters supporting that night’s opponent. Local teams have expressed some concern about losing their hometown advantage. But developing a winning program has resulted in the Knights’ fan base dominating the arena, even when a popular rival is in town.
Webb also addressed parking and tailgating.
Raiders officials estimate about 25,000 fans — just under half the stadium’s capacity — will walk to Allegiant Stadium on game day because they’ll be staying in hotels within walking distance. Webb noted that Allegiant Stadium is an example of an urban model venue, similar to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where there are very few parking spaces on site. Suburban stadium models, such as Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, have lots of parking onsite and a sea of asphalt that goes to waste on all but event dates.
The Raiders are addressing parking and tailgating with a dispersed model with multiple nearby lots and shuttle buses that will move fans to the front steps of the stadium before kickoff. He said the team won’t turn its back on the tailgating culture that is a hallmark of the Raiders and the NFL.
Webb also addressed a criticism that Allegiant Stadium won’t have a retractable roof. Instead, it will have retractable doors at the northeast end of the stadium with a view looking out at the Strip. A lightweight polymer roof will provide the feel of an outdoor stadium protected from the elements.
“We chose not to have a retractable roof,” he said. “Just about every stadium with a retractable roof rarely leaves the roof open and it just didn’t make sense to have a $200 million expense on something we’d almost never use.”
But the stadium will have a 1½-acre field tray on which grass will be grown outdoors, then wheeled inside for games.
Webb said the stadium construction continues to be on time and before construction ends, there will be about 1,800 workers regularly on the project.
“I’m just glad 2020 is a leap year,” he said, “and we get that extra day in the schedule. That’s how tight the schedule is when you’re doing 48 months of work in 30 months.”