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A contentious $30 million, 10-year marketing deal between the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Las Vegas Raiders is still on the table after two months of delay, but several members of an advisory panel that was tasked to review the agreement have raised questions about how cost-effective it is.

The deal — a multi-year contract for digital and physical advertising and other outreach perks involving Raiders branding and team members — was discussed Wednesday during a two-hour presentation on the agency’s conservation efforts to date. Business and conservation voices on the Integrated Resource Planning Advisory Committee brought up several concerns about the contract, including its target audience and unpredictable outcomes in customer behavior.

“Looking at where that advertising is happening … Is it the people in the Las Vegas Valley who need to hear it or is it a stadium full of people from out of state?” asked Andy Maggi, a committee member and executive director of the Nevada Conservation League. “I think differentiating where the targeting is happening, with that amount of money, is very important.”

Two committee members, Nevada Resort Association chief Virginia Valentine and economist John Restrepo, agreed that the proposed outreach and marketing efforts do not guarantee that customers will conserve more water.

“I don’t know how you tease out, with the Raiders sponsorship, enhanced compliance,” Valentine said. “If enhanced compliance means getting people to not water on Sunday, and all the stuff in the campaign is geared toward the [Vegas Golden] Knights or Raiders telling you not to water on Sunday, it seems like a really difficult thing to measure.”

Valentine also expressed concern about the length of the contract, saying that changes in technology might provide more efficient conservation means that would have more predictable returns on investment than the Raiders outreach effort might have.

Officials have said that the marketing campaign would allow the water authority to reach an estimated 169 million impressions and would yield an annual average estimated water savings of 900 million gallons.

General Manager John Entsminger said that outreach efforts cannot be quantified in terms of gallons per capita per day (GPCD) customers use, but that outreach efforts provide a needed boost to achieve the water authority’s 105 GPCD benchmark goal. In 2018, the GPCD was hovering around that, at 113.

The contract, which the water authority board and the Raiders have been negotiating since July, had not been presented to the committee for consideration prior to Wednesday’s meeting, according to water authority public services senior manager Scott Huntley. It was initially scheduled for approval during the November meeting of the full SNWA board, but was re-scheduled for the advisory board’s meeting in January.

Huntley said the decision on the Raiders deal, which was presented to the advisory committee as part of the conservation package presented on Wednesday, was deferred so that the board could “take the temperature” of the committee before proceeding. 

The advisory committee is expected to produce a recommendation report on all conservation strategies proposed to the committee by March. Depending on those recommendations, the board may choose to act on the Raiders deal as a separate item, or group the multi-million dollar contract in with the larger conservation package that was presented to the committee on Wednesday — similar to marketing deals between the authority and the Vegas Golden Knights and the Aviators minor league baseball team. 

Disclosure: Managing Editor Elizabeth Thompson’s media consulting firm, E Thompson Media, helps producethe Stat Pack” and “Fact Pack,” a business and economic website and newsletter co-published by John Restrepo.

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