“Let’s go build a stadium.”
Those were Las Vegas Stadium Authority Chairman Steve Hill’s parting words after a 90-minute meeting Wednesday as he and Oakland Raiders President Marc Badain signed all the documents needed to fund a $1.8 billion indoor football stadium that will house the NFL team and the UNLV football team beginning in 2020.
With all the documentation in Senate Bill 1 now completed, the scene will shift to the Clark County Commission which will meet Tuesday to consider an ordinance to sell $750 million in general obligation revenue bonds.
That’s the public’s contribution to construction of the 65,000-seat stadium that will host such large public events as concerts and major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, in addition to the Raiders and Rebels.
April bond sales
Clark County Manager Yolanda King said Wednesday that the bond sale would likely be closer to $650 million as a result of nearly 13 months’ collection of room tax and and interest generated on collected funds. She said the county expects to receive updated bond-rating information from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, two New York-based financial services companies, this week or next to gauge the status of the bond market.
A bond sale is anticipated sometime in April.
The combination of room taxes earned through April plus bond proceeds is currently anticipated to total $750 million. A sharp increase in interest rates on the date of sale could reduce the amount of bond proceeds available, but in that instance, interest earnings also could be applied toward the project up until the total contribution reaches $750 million.
Like all county bond sales, the county’s financial experts may either not accept bids or not sign the bond purchase agreement if an unexpected market aberration occurs on a given sale date.
After Wednesday’s unanimous approval of 22 agreements, most of which had been reviewed in previous meetings, Hill recessed the session so that he and Badain could sign the documents before the final action item — verification that the authority has signed off on everything Senate Bill 1 required of it.
Proud day for Davis
Asked what he was thinking as he signed the documents on behalf of the Raiders, Badain said, “I was really excited for (owner) Mark (Davis). I wish he was actually here.
“I think it’s a pretty proud day for him and his mother. The franchise means the world to him. It’s his family, and he’s just excited that we’re going to be able to build something iconic. We’re going to build something that is just a beautiful facility. It’ll be great for the team. It’ll be great for everyone associated with the Raiders, the fans, the alumni, everyone that’s been a part of the Raider family.
“To accomplish that in a few short years, I hope he recognizes how significant that is for him. I’m excited to see him when he flies back from the owners’ meeting.”
After the meeting, Badain said some teams — he cited the Los Angeles Chargers — have been seeking new stadiums for 15 years, making the two-year turnaround for the Las Vegas project all the more remarkable.
Hill applauded all the authority board members as well as members of the predecessor Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee that he chaired and recommended the legislation approved in a special session in October 2016 and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Hill and Badain, who sat side by side while members of the authority board looked over their shoulders as they signed the documents, doled out credit to Jeremy Aguero and his Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis staff and attorney Mark Arnold of the Houston-based Andrews Kurth Kenyon law firm, for all the work they did to get documents before the board on time.
Adelson, Jessup lauded
They also paid tribute to Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and his leadership team who, early in the process, brought many of the parties together to develop what then was an improbable plan to bring the NFL to Southern Nevada.
Hill also applauded UNLV President Len Jessup for his role in guiding the UNLV joint-use agreement to completion and to Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak.
Badain, who had gotten off a plane from Orlando about 12 hours earlier after attending several meetings with NFL owners, told authority board members that the NFL is excited about coming to Las Vegas. Owners voted 31-1 Tuesday in favor of the financing package for stadium construction and the team’s formal relocation from Oakland that was given initial approval a year ago.
The finance package will include the $750 million in public funds — the largest public allocation ever for a sports facility. The Raiders would contribute $850 million to the project and the National Football League would put in $200 million through its G-4 stadium loan program — an amount the Raiders eventually will have to repay.
Badain said interest in the stadium project is high all around the league.
“We heard from a lot of owners and a lot of people believed that the speed at which this occurred is really remarkable and the fact that we had the project underway and we’re selling (personal seat licenses) and everything that’s gone on in this community is incredible,” Badain said.
“The league’s been impressed and I think that will be reflected in the future when they look to grant events here, including the (NFL) draft, the Super Bowl, league meetings and other activities,” he said. “They’re really excited about the project, they’re excited about this community so yesterday was a really encouraging day.”
Super Bowl in 2025?
Badain said a potential Super Bowl date wasn’t on the owners’ agenda this week, but it’s expected to come up in the league’s May meetings. He said the league already has awarded sites for the next four games and he expects New Orleans and Phoenix to get the next two after that, leaving the prospect of Las Vegas bidding for the game in 2025 after the 2024 season.
Badain said at least one owner he didn’t identify is considering acquiring a luxury box.
“We actually heard from one owner who said he wants to buy a suite at the stadium and a few people who said they want us to reserve tickets,” he said. “A lot of them come here, a lot of them have homes here. They know what this market is about. They love coming here. I think we’ll get in the rotation for a lot of NFL events over the next five, 10 and 15 years.”
Badain, who has been with the team 27 years, said 30 Raiders employees already have begun working in Las Vegas, even though the team has at least two seasons to play before moving into the new stadium.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.