The budget for the $1.8 billion Las Vegas stadium project increased by $40 million this week, but that’s tied to positive news that could help net the stadium the biggest game in sports.
The extra money will allow stadium officials to add 20 new suites, increasing the number planned for the 65,000 seat stadium to 128, according to Raiders President Marc Badain. And the additional suites will make the stadium more attractive for large events, like the Super Bowl.
The sales of suites, personal seat licenses, club seats and sponsorships exceeded the Las Vegas Stadium Co.’s budgeted amounts, spurring the new additions, according to Las Vegas Stadium Co. Chief Operating Officer Don Webb.
“This is good news,” Webb said at Thursday’s Las Vegas Stadium Authority meeting. “Normally a person in my position reporting to a public body such as yours has the unenviable task of telling you why the project is over budget because costs weren’t properly accounted for… that’s not what this is about. This is good news, not bad news.”
Of the $40 million windfall, $8 million will go toward adding the 20 new suites in place of some single seats in the south end zone.
“It took out a few seats in that one end zone structure, a few hundred seats, but capacity will still be around 65,000,” Badian told the Review-Journal. “So it will be some fixed (seating) and some standing room only to get us up to that number.”
Aside from being beneficial for everyday events, the added suites will benefit the larger events that could be held at the stadium.
“It’s also good for the Super Bowl,” Badain said. “The more suites you have, the better opportunity you have to bid for the Super Bowl. So we wanted to be responsive to the NFL, as we’re working on a bid for the 2025 Super Bowl.”
The added suites will be located in the south end zone, with six going on the main concourse and 14 suites in the lower suite level, one section above the main concourse.
Aside from the new suites, a new 26,000-square-foot field-level club area, which could fit upwards of 800 people, will be added to the stadium.
The new field level club, which replaces the previously planned bunker suites in the north end zone of the stadium, will account for $10 million of the budget increase.
Stadium officials said the club area will generate more revenue than the suites in the area would have and will improve the fan experience.
“Those won’t be sold as a PSL, those will be single game product,” Badain said. “So those won’t be season tickets.”
Webb said the space will likely be used differently for Raiders games than it is for concerts and other events.
The remaining additional money will go toward upgraded fixtures and art in the architecture ($10 million); upgraded information technology and communications ($4 million) to increase the internet capabilities in the stadium; exterior plaza security and aesthetic enhancements ($4 million); seating and building operations systems upgrades ($2 million); and additional exterior restrooms ($2 million).
The Raiders will foot the bill for the $40 million added to the project’s budget, Webb said.
The additions won’t set back the July 31, 2020 completion date, officials said.
A big factor in including the new additions was the strong personal seat license sales, which were originally budgeted to draw $290 million.
About 85 percent have been sold and Badain said he believes the number will eclipse the originally budgeted amount.
“I do forecast it going above $290 million,” he said. “(If the amount eclipses $290 million) That money will go back into the project.”