Economists weigh economic impact of stadium for Raiders in Las Vegas

Updated March 27, 2017 - 11:19 pm

With the Oakland Raiders officially OK’d to move to Las Vegas, local economists are now studying the path to a new stadium for signs the Raiders are more than just new entertainment.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority has taken into account lessons of past stadiums deals — and failed ones — Applied Analysis principal analyst Jeremy Aguero said. Aguero has worked with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

“It’s a community benefit,” he said. “It creates another reason for people to visit.”

The Stadium Authority understands the importance of infrastructure and parking, having enough money for the project and what details need be included in the operating agreement, he said.

Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee projections show the stadium is expected to cost between $19.2 million and $25.3 million to operate, with net operating income between $9.3 million and $33.9 million.

For years, economists have argued over the pros and cons of new stadiums built in the name of economic development. The few number of NFL games that bring people to the stadiums makes them less useful than a new manufacturing plant or shopping center.


 

NFL teams play 16 games a season, half of which are typically at home.

The stadium is expected to host between 30 and 62 events a year, which will come from the likes of UNLV, concerts, soccer and motorsports, according to the projections.

What also separates Las Vegas from other stadium cities, Aguero said, is a reliable base of tourists. When he removed them from his economic models, the stadium made no sense.


 

The success of places like the convention center, brick-and-mortar shopping on the Strip and McCarran Airport all prove standard economic rules don’t apply to Las Vegas, he said.

While some stadiums have spurred retail activity nearby, such as the L.A. Live complex next to the Staples Center and Los Angeles Convention Center, the Raiders stadium may be too close to the Strip to have that sort of effect, Aguero said.

“How that will work here is still unclear,” he said. “Whether this will bring new activity to that southwest corridor of the Strip remains to be seen.”

The Raiders and the stadium must prove they add to the overall money spent in the valley by tourists, said Steve Miller, UNLV professor and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research.

The Raiders and the stadium could instead take money away from other entertainment on the Strip, he said. Visitors would spend money at the stadium they would have otherwise spent gambling or going to shows.

It is possible stadium supporters will keep their promises on having more than just NFL at the stadium, he said. It’s possible visitors to the stadium, even if they aren’t new to the valley, will extend their stays to fit around the NFL schedule.

Both would be wins for the valley. Stadium watchers will find out in time if they are real.

“Most supporters would say Las Vegas is different,” Miller said. “We’ll have to see how that plays out.”

Contact Wade Tyler Millward at wmillward@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4602. Follow @wademillward on Twitter.

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