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UNLV football revenue at Allegiant at key threshold

The UNLV football team appears to have generated enough revenue this past season that the athletic department will not need to tap into a fund designed to insure it does not lose money making the move from Sam Boyd to Allegiant Stadium.

That’s according to UNLV athletic director Erick Harper and Brian Gordon, the principal of Applied Analysis, who serves as the staff for the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

That waterfall fund was set up as part of UNLV’s joint-use agreement with the Raiders. Any year for the first 10 years of Allegiant Stadium being operable that UNLV doesn’t surpass $5 million in net revenue for football games at the stadium, a fund is set up to offset those costs. Each season up to $3.5 million from the waterfall fund is available to cover any revenue shortfall.

“At this point we’re right on that threshold of $5 million,” Harper told the Review-Journal.

In creating the waterfall account, “the (Las Vegas) stadium authority and UNLV retained an independent accountant to evaluate Sam Boyd’s historical operating income levels,” Gordon said. “It concluded the most relevant period of operations was in Fiscal Year 2016 in which Sam Boyd Stadium generated $5 million in income. There is a look back each year to see what UNLV’s football operations generated at Allegiant Stadium.”

Harper said he didn’t have the final revenue report for the 2022 season just yet. Gordon was more definitive, saying he is under the impression UNLV games generated more than the $5 million threshold this past college football season. “So, there will be no waterfall payment to UNLV,” he said.

The 2022 season would have been the first the school would be eligible to receive funding from the waterfall account.

For Rebels games at the stadium, UNLV keeps revenue from ticket suite sales, parking fees and concession stands sales. UNLV has to pay varying fees to play games at Allegiant Stadium, which is an expense deducted from gross revenue and included in the net revenue.

In the most recent complete financial report, UNLV football games at Allegiant Stadium in the 2021 season saw a net revenue of $5.5 million, The 2021 season was highlighted by the most attended Rebels home game at Allegiant Stadium to date, with an announced crowd of 25,455 for the September game against Iowa State.

Although many fans grunted at the terms of the joint-use agreement with the Raiders and the payment the school makes to use Allegiant Stadium for games, Harper said it’s been a great change from Sam Boyd.

“It’s been a phenomenal experience for the guys and it’s helped in recruiting,” Harper said. “Just the experience of our fan base and using arguably one of the best facilities in college football in the country on a regular basis.”

Senate Bill 1 from the 2016 special legislative session established the order of how the debt service would flow from the money generated from the $750 million in public money that went toward the construction of Allegiant Stadium.

The money used is raised via a 0.88 percent tax on hotel rooms in Clark County. As of September 2022, the latest data available, the room tax has generated $238.6 million since March 2017.

First the debt service for the bonds tied to the $750 million is paid, then left over funds go toward administrative costs for the operation of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

From there, various buckets are part of waterfall payment, including the reserve fund for the bonds. Per SB1, the reserve fund, set up to take care of stadium bond payments should insufficient room tax is generated, is set to cover two full years of bond payments.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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