85°F
weather icon Clear

Las Vegas Raiders a ‘force multiplier,’ Sandoval says

On the night when star chef Wolfgang Puck was honored for his long history of charitable work, Gov. Brian Sandoval took a few minutes to talk football.

It happens when the largest city in your state lands one of the NFL’s most famous teams.

“How this all came together, first and foremost, is that Las Vegas is one of the greatest cities on the planet,” Sandoval said after honoring Puck as Philanthropist of the Year at the annual Governor’s Black Tie gala at Southern Highlands Golf Club. “When you put one of the greatest cities on the planet with one of the most iconic names in professional sports, it’s a force multiplier. Think about it: The Raiders are perfect for Las Vegas.”

Sandoval said the outlay of $750 million in public funding for the Raiders stadium in Las Vegas has a lot to do with that “force multiplier.” But the Raiders’ founding family has always had an affection for Las Vegas.

“Obviously, the $750 million has a lot to do with it. But at the same time, if you talk to (Raiders owner) Mark Davis, he’s always said his dad (original Raiders owner Al Davis) always loved Las Vegas, and it was part of the family’s legacy to come here,” Sandoval said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for the team in Oakland, but it will work out better in Las Vegas.”

Sandoval continued: “I don’t deny that it’s a big sum of money, but we’ve been able to structure it so the room tax pays for a third of (stadium costs), and I think that is fair, and it will be a win-win for everybody.”

The Raiders are expected to move to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season, as the new stadium is finished. “When you see them start to go vertical with the stadium, and we get closer to them actually coming here and playing here, you will see momentum and excitement built toward a historic moment for Las Vegas,” Sandoval said. The team’s move is a component in what the governor says will be an evolution of the city’s schedule of major sporting events.

“I don’t want the (Vegas) Golden Knights to be forgotten in all of this. To have an NHL franchise is a really big deal,” he said. ‘This is the start. We should have a Super Bowl here. I want to be able to get the NCAA to change their minds and have a Final Four in Las Vegas, for them to realize we can have the NHL and NFL here, and how we’ve held the Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast Conference tournaments here … There is no better city in the United States to host these types of events, with the resources and properties we have.”

The topper, as the governor says, “People love to come here.” To turn a phrase, they come here, so build it.

Wolfgang sizzles

Puck was honored for his work with a host of charities across the country, including Keep Memory Alive for the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic for Brain Health in Las Vegas. Olympia Companies Chairman Garry Goett (whose company is developer of Southern Highlands) and Sandoval presented KMA with a $50,000 check.

From the stage, Puck remembered the early days of Spago, which opened in December 1992 and help launch the star-chef era on the Strip.

“Everybody told us we were crazy, going to Las Vegas, and when we opened up I thought maybe we are crazy,” said Puck, who opened Spago during a lull in the city’s tourism business (at least in those days). “I was so nervous, I had to get drunk before I went to sleep every night — and thank you, Larry, for all of your champagne to help me sleep.”

That line was directed at Larry Ruvo, the longtime Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada exec. (The company is now called Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.)

Spago soon became a success, and as Puck said, “Las Vegas is one of the great restaurant cities in the country, if not the world.” He has advised many other superstar chefs to open outposts in Las Vegas.

“They should have the confidence to come here,” Puck said. “I remember talking to Sirio (Maccioni), and he wanted to open Le Cirque in Las Vegas, but was nervous. I said, ‘Open your restaurant in Las Vegas, already! You will do better in Las Vegas than New York. Today, it’s really true. I went to Le Cirque in New York, and there were three people there! … Las Vegas really is a better city than New York!” In this room, it was a great applause line.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
THE LATEST