Oakland Raiders And UNLV Still At Impasse In Las Vegas NFL Stadium Negotiations
The Oakland Raiders are still having problems in their stadium negotiations with the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). That much was clear in an obvious puff-piece that appeared Tuesday in the Sheldon Adeson-owned Las Vegas Review-Journal.
While the intent was to send a message that all was well with the talks, the work actually had the opposite effect.
Consider that the author cherry picked a quote from UNLV President Len Jessup, where the Prez said about the recent news of UNLV playing Cal “They literally want to be the first game in the stadium. We didn’t get those kinds of offers from Pac-12 schools for Sam Boyd Stadium. That’s a function of the new stadium.”
Uh, let’s not forget the UNLV vs Cal series will go on, new stadium or not.
The rest of the article was a real nothing-burger. Here’s why, and it can be summed up in this statement from Jessup: “Everybody’s busy. They’ve got so many other things they need to get done. And they’re in the middle of a season and they’re managing a team and renegotiating contracts. … I think it’s just that there’s a lot of work to be done here in a short amount of time. I really don’t want to say what specifically are the remaining items because I don’t think that would be fair to anybody involved in the negotiating on this thing at this point. I also have to say that once we’re done with this part of the process, we’re not done, because ultimately, it would then go to our regents. Thom (Reilly) has committed to the regents that that would be in a two-step fashion, one meeting where we would report out on everything and they would get to digest it and react to it, and then they’d get a little bit of time and then we’d come back in a second meeting with any revisions that are necessary to be able to vote on it.”
Look, here’s the fact: UNLV and the Oakland Raiders have been working on this Las Vegas Stadium Project since Mark Badain visited Jessup in late January of 2016, and behind the collective back of the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda – that’s 670 days elapsed time, and counting! Come January 28th 2017, that will be two full years of talks.
The problem is not hard to see for anyone who has experience in this area: UNLV is asking the thorny question of can the university afford a $1 million or more annual payment to the Oakland Raiders to use the stadium, considering the athletic department is running a deficit as this is written? Look at what Temple University is paying The Philadelphia Eagles to use Lincoln Financial at $1 million – which is the Raiders reported finanicial model for UNLV. Now, there’s word the Eagles want to push that payment to $2 million – something UNLV is not equipped to afford.
And UNLV has to be weighing that situation with the option of doing nothing with the Raiders, visting Nevada Governor Sandoval and asking to take over the stadium project (which UNLV can do according to the Southern Nevada Tourism and Investment Act), and needing to come up with only $200 million. (Something that any one of a number of UNLV backers, including Sheldon Adelson, would do.)
It’s a fair bet the Regents of UNLV know this. Stay tuned.