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Report: UNLV Mega-Events Center Could Add $393.2 Million Each Year Directly to Local Economy

Facility is part of UNLVNow, a proposed public/private partnership to revitalize west end of UNLV campus; indirect impact could top $600 million.
Campus News  |  Nov 30, 2012  |  By Tony Allen
Media Contact: Tony Allen (702) 895-0893

A covered mega-events center on UNLV's campus could add $393.2 million directly to the Las Vegas economy each year if constructed, according to an economic impact report by Mark Rosentraub and the University of Michigan Center for Sport Management. Rosentraub is a national expert on the economic benefits of sports and entertainment facilities.

The report and a corresponding summary addressed the need for and economic benefits associated with a mega-events center at UNLV capable of hosting 55,000-plus spectators. The university is planning UNLVNow, a proposed public/private partnership with developer Majestic Realty Co. that would include a mega-events center and student village on the northwest part of the university's campus.

"The absence of a mega-events center in Southern Nevada is surprising given the region's internationally dominant hospitality and tourism industry. As a result, numerous events that would create jobs and generate taxes simply are not held in Southern Nevada," said Rosentraub, who has advised numerous North American cities on redevelopment strategies focused on sports and culture. "These mega-events - from neutral site college football games to festival concerts - are increasingly held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington or New Orleans' Super Dome. When that happens fewer hotel nights spent by tourists in the Las Vegas metropolitan region."

The report estimates that it is reasonable to assume the mega-events center would draw at least 15 new major events annually. With 15 annual events, the mega-events center would have an annual direct economic impact of $393.2 million locally - with more than $66 million in new spending on the UNLV campus alone.

Other key report findings include:

  • The total direct, indirect and induced benefits of 15 new major events each year is estimated at more than $600 million
  • Construction of the mega-events center at UNLV would generate more than $197 million in direct wages and nearly $30 million in tax revenue for state and local governments
  • The benefit to the resort and retail centers of Las Vegas would surpass $327 million each year with 15 new major events

Guy Hobbs, a local financial and economic consultant who formally reviewed and validated the Rosentraub report, claims that while entertainment drives the Las Vegas economy, the absence of a modern facility that can host more than 20,000 places the city at a competitive disadvantage. Without a facility for mega-events, he says, Las Vegas cannot attract new large events and risks losing current events to outside markets.

"There is compelling evidence that the construction and operation of a mega-events center would not only preserve, but enhance the competitiveness of the region's core economy," said Hobbs. "The result will be increased visitation, more jobs, more wages and salaries, and more economic activity within the region's core tourism industry."

Hobbs says the mega-events center would also revitalize the west end of the UNLV campus and neighboring businesses. Building on the successful model of the Thomas & Mack center, he says, the mega-events center will bridge the campus with residential populations and the tourism industry by bringing signature events year-round and returning all of UNLV's athletics programs to campus.

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