Updated October 14, 2019 - 5:43 pm
A second casino company has become a founding corporate sponsor of Allegiant Stadium, but it is one many Southern Nevadans may not know.
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians on Monday announced a partnership with the Raiders, whose construction subsidiary is building the $2 billion, 65,000-seat stadium at Interstate 15 and Russell Road.
The tribe operates the San Manuel Casino in Highland, California, in San Bernardino County, 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Last year, the tribe broke ground on a 17-story, 450-room, $550 million hotel expected to be completed in the summer of 2020, when a 3,000-seat entertainment venue also is due to open.
The casino offers 4,700 slot machines.
Terms of the tribe’s deal with the Raiders were not disclosed.
“We’ve talked often about how this project is going to be transformative, transformative for the city, transformative to this region, transformative to the Raiders and also transformative for those that chose to be part of this project and a part of this building,” Raiders President Marc Badain told about 50 who gathered at the Raiders Preview Center in Town Square.
“We’ve had a long history, we’ve been in multiple markets as everybody knows,” Badain said. “We like to say that it’s all a part of our DNA. Our history in Los Angeles was a very significant one, a very successful one, and we maintain a very strong fan base in the Southern California area, so much so that a significant portion of our PSL holders are coming from that region. It’s a great tie-in and a great brand. San Manuel does wonderful things in that community.”
Tribal Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena said San Manuel Casino signage would adorn the stadium and the tribe has acquired a luxury box in the venue.
“We look forward to giving our guests more access to thrilling sports and entertainment through this new partnership with Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders,” she said.
Valbuena, who wore a silver and black squash blossom necklace during the announcement, said she and other tribal leaders are also in Las Vegas for the Global Gaming Expo where she’ll be a panelist for a Tuesday educational session.
The partnership with the Raiders isn’t a first for a tribe to partner on a major sports venue.
San Manuel Casino also has a partnership signed nearly a year ago with the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
In Arizona, the venue that is home to the National Basketball Association Phoenix Suns is the Talking Stick Resort Arena, formerly known as America West Arena and US Airways Center, with rights owned by the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Tribe.
And, the Arizona Coyotes National Hockey League team plays at Gila River Arena, formerly Glendale Arena and Jobing.com Arena, and named by Gila River Casinos — a group of tribal casinos controlled by the Gila River Indian Community.
In November, Caesars Entertainment Corp. became the first company to sign on as a Raiders partner, announcing that it would sponsor a branded stadium entrance.
Badain said Monday he doesn’t expect San Manuel to be the last casino company to have a sponsorship at the new stadium.
“There will be others that are coming,” Badain said. “We have a number of other founding partners to announce. It’s really up to the partners to decide when they want to do it. We let them do it on their time frames so there’ll be some others in the coming months into the first part of 2020.”
Badain expects the partnership to boost tourism from Southern California’s Inland Empire.
“It’s good for the project and the project’s talked about increasing tourism,” he said. “Obviously, the tie between Las Vegas and Southern California is very strong and this a very powerful brand in the Southern California area that can help bring fans to Las Vegas.”
The Redskins issue
Tribal Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena said the tribe hasn’t taken a stance on the touchy issue of the team name of the Washington Redskins.
“We have not taken a position on that,” she said in an interview. “Our tribe has watched it over the past several years when this has come up. Other tribes, as you know, have taken position. But we’re just laying low, sitting back, and just watching how everything is playing out with this. So, no, we have not taken a position.”
Several tribes, national tribal organizations and civil rights organizations say the use of Native American names and symbols by non-native sports teams is a harmful form of ethnic stereotyping that promotes misunderstanding and prejudice.