About That Stadium…
Will UNLV football play in a new stadium soon? In September, we edged one step closer to knowing. The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee (SNTIC) approved a proposal for a new stadium for the home games of the Rebels and the National Football League’s Raiders franchise, and other events. It would be located at Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.
What does the seal of approval mean? Given the committee makeup, the proposal’s unanimous approval carries a lot of weight. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval had created the committee to study the feasibility and financing alternatives for a stadium. He put his top economic development official in charge and ensured the committee included elected city and county officials, business and regional planning leaders, and UNLV President Len Jessup. But there are still two more big steps to go.
The next hurdle? The Nevada Legislature must consider the proposal in a special session (scheduled for mid-October). Because the proposal involves an increase in hotel room taxes in Clark County, it will require a two-thirds vote to pass. The Legislature could approve SNTIC’s recommendation, deny it, or amend it.
And then? The next step would be getting NFL approval for the Raiders’ relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas. The team must officially put its application together in the next few months for consideration at the league’s winter meetings and a vote in March. Missing this window would push everything back a year. With both legislative and NFL approval, construction could move forward with groundbreaking in late 2017 or early 2018 and a stadium opening in time for the 2020 football season.
More: Get details in the meeting reports on the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee website.
Construction will begin next on a 73,000-square-foot football training facility, the athletic department announced last month.
Dubbed the Fertitta Football Complex, after the family pledged $10 million — the largest single gift in the athletic department’s history — toward the state-of-the-art facility to be built on the UNLV campus at the north end of team’s practice area.
“We believe in the future of Rebels football under (head coach) Tony Sanchez’s leadership,” the Fertitta family said in a statement. The Fertittas are longtime supporters of UNLV and previously donated $1 million for the men’s and women’s tennis programs.
With the announcement, more than $16 million has been pledged for the project, which is expected to cost in excess of $24 million and take 10 months to complete.
“I thank the Fertittas for their program-changing gift,” athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. “We thought outside the box when we hired Tony Sanchez, and everyone is already seeing the outstanding results both on and off the field.”
The men’s basketball program was the recipient of what was previously largest athletics department gift, $7.2 million from the Mendenhall family for construction of the team’s training facility.