On Thursday when Raiders president Marc Badain objected to a new proposal from committee SNTIC chairman Steve Hill. The original plan had the Raiders and Las Vegas Sands Corp providing $750 million toward the new stadium project. Badain noted that was the 7th most ever provided by a team and private financier, which makes their proposal seem more than fair. That is unless you ask the obvious other question - where does the remaining $750 million being asked from public funding rank?
The answer is it would be the most public funding in NFL history, some $130 million more than the $620 million which was used to build Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, according to Bloomberg online. So, you can see why the defense of the initial plan focused on the amount on one side of this proposal.
Badain was "not happy" with the alternative stadium proposal presented by Hill, which lowered the amount of public financing from $750 million to $550 million. That would raise the amount asked from private financing to $900 million, which Badain said would be third most in the league. Meanwhile even the lowered public funding amount would still be second most in the history of the NFL - some $50 million more than the brand spanking new facility set to open in Minnesota and over $100 million more than was asked to build the ‘Jerry World' palace in Dallas.
It's pretty easy to see why Mark Davis and the Raiders would prefer a new stadium in Vegas under these circumstances. Getting a record amount of public funding is quite a departure from the zero being offered from Oakland. That's a pretty sweet deal for Davis.
Proponents among the Vegas residents tout the fact that the taxes aren't coming from them, but from tourists. What they're missing is that's where a large portion of their public money comes from and if you spend that money on a stadium, you don't have it available for all the other things like infrastructure, police departments, schools, and most notably the currently proposed Las Vegas Convention Center expansion.
If you were looking for the Las Vegas media to raise any serious concerns about the drawbacks to the stadium proposal, you are unlikely to find it. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was purchased last year by LV Sands Corp owner Sheldon Adelson - a man worth $23.6 billion - who politico recently reported was exercising editorial control on the paper up to and including squashing articles that could be perceived as negative with regard to his stadium investment.
The objections are out there, though, including Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani who wrote a strongly worded letter to Chairman Hill this week urging him not to approve the stadium proposal.
"A proposed stadium is nothing more than a distraction to the discussion of updating the LVCVA and its proposed expansion." Giunchigliani wrote. "Room taxes are public and if someone wishes to build a stadium they should use their private dollars to build it - no public taxes should be utilized in any format."
Hill then sent out his alternative proposal Wednesday, which featured $200 million less being asked from taxes, and laid out that alternative proposal in detail at the meeting on Thursday.
As has been pointed out a number of times before, including a full episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight (below), communities don't get back the return on investment they think they will from a new stadium.
That is a common stance among economists as Victor Matheson, sports economist at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, told Bloomberg this week.
"Cities are often wildly optimistic about the amount of new revenue pro sports teams will generate. I have never seen a city spending money on an NFL team make up its investment. In Las Vegas you're just going to be filling up a hotel that was going to be full anyway."
Las Vegas just got an NHL expansion team to inhabit the completely privately financed and already constructed T-Mobile arena. The city would love to get an NFL team as well. Who wouldn't? But how badly do they want it? Badly enough to front considerably more than any city has ever paid for a new NFL stadium? We'll see.