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Confusion reigns over date of Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant

Updated September 30, 2022 - 11:01 am

The Las Vegas Bowl will be played as scheduled in December. But exactly when depends on whom you ask.

The bowl’s website lists kickoff for Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m. But Allegiant Stadium’s website lists the date and start time as “TBA.”

The game, matching teams from the Southeastern Conference and Pac-12, is scheduled to be televised by ABC (KTNV-TV).

“I’m not sure why it’s listed like that on their website,” Las Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti said Thursday of the Allegiant Stadium listing, “but we do have a meeting scheduled next week with the stadium and the Raiders. We’re going to add it to the agenda and figure it out.”

Saccenti said the bowl is planning to announce next week that tickets will go on sale in early November. But first the bowl, the Raiders and Allegiant Stadium need to finalize a date for the game.

One possible issue could be the time it takes to transition the Allegiant Stadium field from natural grass for the bowl game to turf for the Raiders.

The Raiders are scheduled to play the New England Patriots on Dec. 18 at 5:20 p.m. at Allegiant, the day after the Las Vegas Bowl. Because both teams are off to slow starts, however, the NFL could flex that game from NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” national audience to a regional airing at about 1:30 p.m.

Such a move would bring the Raiders game to within 24 hours of the Las Vegas Bowl, shortening the time for replacing the field as well as rebuilding the south end zone stands.

The Raiders’ joint-use agreement with UNLV allows for as few as 12 hours to make that change. Saccenti said the Las Vegas Bowl has not been given a specific time in which it has to finish its event to not conflict with the stadium changeover.

Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said Thursday that each event has its own agreement with the stadium and the Raiders about such contingencies.

The stadium website didn’t even list the bowl among its upcoming events as recently as Wednesday, but the game appeared there after media inquiries into its absence.

A stadium spokeswoman said she didn’t know why the game is listed as “TBA,” saying it could be a “technical issue” and would try to find out.

A further attempt to reach her for comment was unsuccessful, as were attempts to reach Allegiant Stadium general manager Chris Wright. A Raiders spokesman said he didn’t know why the bowl hadn’t been listed on the stadium website.

Last year’s Las Vegas Bowl was the first at Allegiant, drawing an announced crowd of 32,515 to watch Wisconsin defeat Arizona State 20-13. The combination of a COVID-19 spike and high hotel room rates for New Year’s Eve negatively impacted ticket sales for that game, which was played Dec. 30.

In hopes of drawing a better crowd, the game was moved to before Christmas during what is typically a slow time for tourism in Southern Nevada. The bowl traditionally was played before Christmas and often drew sold-out crowds to Sam Boyd Stadium.

Three years remain after this game on the contract in which a Pac-12 team plays an SEC or Big Ten Conference opponent. Because of the College Football Playoff moving from four to 12 teams by no later than the 2026 season as well as conference realignment, the Las Vegas Bowl could become a more high-profile game or put itself in position to be a playoff host.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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