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World’s richest rodeo gets even richer in Las Vegas through 2035

Updated June 18, 2024 - 7:09 pm

Rodeo’s richest event will get richer over the next 12 years as the PRCA and Las Vegas Events on Monday jointly announced details of a National Finals Rodeo contract extension that will keep the event in Las Vegas through 2035.

In a release issued Monday morning, organizers of what has been called the Super Bowl of rodeo said rodeo contestants and stock contractors will see purse and contract money exceed $264.3 million by the end of the deal.

Las Vegas Events first announced the contract extension in April, but provided new details about it Monday.

Las Vegas Events, the private nonprofit company that contracts special events on behalf of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, sweetened the deal with the guarantee of an additional $1.3 million in contestant purse and stock contractor compensation in 2024 and 2025 as a signing bonus to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

“Las Vegas is the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World and a great home for the National Finals Rodeo,” PRCA CEO Tom Glause said in a release. “This is a landmark agreement for the PRCA that benefits every PRCA member — contestants, stock contractors, committees and contract personnel. This agreement will advance and help the sport continue to grow and provide security for the future.”

This year’s rodeo is scheduled Dec. 5-14.

Rodeo sells out

The rodeo has sold out 359 consecutive performances at its Las Vegas home, the Thomas &Mack Center arena on the UNLV campus. Terms in the previous contract have enabled organizers to consider other venues if mutually agreed upon and that clause is included in the renewed contract.

There has been speculation about a possible move to the new Athletics stadium when it’s built and Las Vegas Events President Tim Keener has had discussions with A’s management about using the stadium, which would have a larger capacity than Thomas &Mack and provide additional seating for rodeo performances. Nothing has been decided.

It is estimated that 340,000 people make the trip to Las Vegas annually for the NFR, with the event generating a $200 million economic impact for the city, according to LVCVA data. The LVCVA pays the PRCA $3 million annually to sponsor the NFR in Las Vegas.

The 2023 event had one fewer public rodeo performance than usual as a result of an on-campus shooting incident Dec. 6. The Dec. 8 event was rescheduled as a later performance not opened to the public.

Monday’s announcement was mostly about revenue projections for the future.

For the 2024 NFR, the prize money for contestants will be $12,501,505 and stock contractors will receive $3,750,451 — making the payout amount of more than $16.2 million, which includes guaranteed prize money of $1.2 million for NFR qualifiers.

In 2025, the prize money for both will increase to more than $17.5 million — $13,501,505 to contestants and $4,050,451 to stock contractors.

In each subsequent year through 2035, the contestant purse and compensation to stock contractors will increase by $1 million ($769,231 and $230,769, respectively). By the end of the contract in 2035, the total payout to the contestants and stock contractors will be more than $27.5 million. There also will be annual salary increases for contract personnel.

Marketing elements

Additional elements of the agreement include season-long marketing programs and an official designation as an Official Sponsor of the PRCA, NFR, National Finals Steer Roping, NFR Open and presenting sponsorships of the 12 National Circuit Finals Rodeos.

“After working with the PRCA and their representatives for nearly two years, I am pleased with our efforts to secure Las Vegas as the home to the world’s richest and most prestigious rodeo through 2035,” Bill McBeath, chairman of the Las Vegas Events board of trustees, said in a release. “For nearly 40 years, Las Vegas has built a strong partnership with the PRCA and its contestants and stock contractors. We feel that the new agreement is beneficial to all parties and clearly demonstrates the commitment that Las Vegas has to the NFR and the sport of rodeo.”

Keener thanked the negotiating parties for their efforts.

“I would like to acknowledge the tremendous dedication that Bill McBeath, Michael Gaughan, Tom Glause and the PRCA exhibited over the past 20 months to secure the extension of the NFR,” Keener said in a release. “Our goal is to continue to make the NFR a December tradition in our city. We look forward to working with our partners in growing the NFR Experience for rodeo fans in Las Vegas.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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