Raiders president Marc Badain played a paramount role in bringing the NFL franchise to Las Vegas.
Badain was the one creating relationships with city and state officials and getting to know the potential laborers who will help build the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas.
On Monday, he got to see his 22-month-long project get underway when the Raiders hosted a memorable stadium groundbreaking event attended by about 600 invited guests on the Las Vegas stadium site at Interstate 15 and Russell Road.
But Badain’s work is nowhere near done. He’s already on his next project.
“I’ve learned a lot about soccer in the last few months,” Badain said.
Badain will get on a plane with Las Vegas Stadium Authority Chairman Steve Hill on Tuesday to fly to Houston for the second qualifying meetings for the stadium to host one or more FIFA World Cup soccer matches in 2026 if North America wins the bid to host the quadrennial tournament.
“It’s essentially 24 hours of meetings,” Badain said. “They tell you everything you need to do in order to be one of the cities to get awarded. So it’s really a learning experience for us on this trip.
“We’re bringing some representatives from Las Vegas and some folks that are going to help us out and know the landscape better than we do, and obviously we’ll bring the expertise on the stadium side of things.”
Badain said the goal is to host a semifinal match or multiple games in the group stage. Las Vegas probably won’t be in contention to host the championship final since the stadium is scheduled to seat 65,000. Most final sites can hold up to 90,000 people.
Las Vegas is one of 32 cities from the United States, Canada and Mexico in the running to host a World Cup match in nine years. Morocco is challenging the North America joint bid.