Raiders President Marc Badain said Nevada’s embrace of the team and ability to get a stadium underway in three years was “remarkable” and offered himself up as an ambassador to other companies thinking about relocating to the state.
Badain made his comments and offered an update on stadium construction to lawmakers, lobbyists and members of the Nevada Taxpayers Association during their annual meeting on Thursday in Carson City. The group, which advocates for sound tax policy, had originally opposed the major contribution of taxpayer dollars toward the stadium, saying there were better uses for the money.
“Nobody’s ever done that. It’s never happened,” Badain said about Nevada’s work to bring the project to fruition. “This is a pretty amazing community, an amazing state.”
Badain’s speech comes after more than a year of construction on the Raiders’ future stadium off the Las Vegas Strip. The cost is approximately $1.9 billion, including $750 million in hotel room taxes diverted to stadium funding — an expenditure lawmakers approved in a split vote during a special session in 2016.
He reported that the stadium’s outlook was “exceeding expectations,” noting that initial projections showed a quarter of personal seat licenses at games would be tourists and the rest locals. He now believes the tourist share will be closer to one-third.
“We’re here to maximize the public investment and drive some real economic growth with the events that happen at the stadium,” he said.
He punctuated his presentation with time-lapse videos of the stadium’s construction and images from the team’s youth outreach activities and quarterly construction worker appreciation lunches, which feature team owner Mark Davis wearing a chef’s hat.
He also said the team was trying to lure the Pac-12 college football Championship Game away from its current home in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and was angling for the next open slot for an NFL Super Bowl in 2025.
As for the at-times controversial community benefits agreement requiring the team to hire a certain number of minority and women-owned businesses for construction work, Badain said the project was also exceeding expectations at about 18.9 percent of all construction work.
Badain also reiterated that the team was “committed” to moving its summer training camp to Northern Nevada, but said he couldn’t provide a timeframe and that the camp would continue in its current home in Napa.
“We’ll get here as soon as we can,” he said.
But there was one topic he didn’t broach during the presentation, which included a brief question and answer period — the question of whether fans will be able to park within a reasonable distance of the stadium. Only a few thousand parking spots will be in the same parcel as the stadium, with the vast majority being at four off-site locations, according to the plan the team submitted last year.
“Nobody’s allowed to ask me about parking,” he said, to laughs.