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Volume 26 No. 88
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Nevada Regents Likely To Approve UNLV's Joint-Use Stadium Agreement With Raiders

The Nevada Board of Regents gave every indication they will "approve UNLV’s Joint-Use Agreement" with the Raiders for "use of the planned 65,000-seat domed Las Vegas football stadium when they vote Jan. 19," according to Richard Velotta of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. No "deal-killing issues emerged Thursday when regents picked through the 65-page document in a special meeting at which no vote was scheduled." The biggest concerns regents voiced were about the Raiders’ "right to bump a scheduled UNLV game if the Raiders or the NFL choose to reschedule one of their games." Regents were "concerned that UNLV would be liable for cancellation fees in contracts with other schools if that ever happened." The joint-use agreement is a "critical component in the Las Vegas Stadium Authority’s bid to complete a stadium development agreement with the Raiders by its Feb. 15 meeting." By that time, general contractor Mortenson Construction is "expected to have a guaranteed price for the stadium project," projected at $1.9B (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOUNRAL, 1/5). In Las Vegas, Alan Snel noted a per game rental fee of $250,000 was "mentioned as the cost for UNLV to use the new Raiders stadium." However, UNLV outside lawyer Dan Etna said that rental charge "could be adjusted down." But the $250,000 per game rent fee is a "big increase over the $50,000 to $75,000 UNLV spends to hold a football game at Sam Boyd Stadium." The Raiders want to use "natural turf for their games and UNLV wants to use artificial turf." Stadium workers will "slide natural turf" into the stadium for Raiders games and then "slide in the artificial surface" for UNLV games (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 1/4).

SPEND MONEY TO MAKE MONEY: In Las Vegas, Adam Candee notes UNLV spent money "big on outside lawyers to negotiate its stadium use deal with the Raiders." It is an agreement UNLV officials "hope will turn their football program into a reliable revenue source for an athletics department" that faced a $5M budget shortfall just last year. The university’s "outside legal fees for Raiders discussions through Dec. 21 totaled $189,179." Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly said, "I know there were some issues concerned with cost, but in the scheme of issues, the total cost is less than one game (of rent) over a 30-year period." UNLV officials retained Etna in July, just weeks after "receiving an initial stadium-sharing proposal from the Raiders that tilted heavily toward the team." UNLV President Len Jessup said that his legal staff "did not have the expertise to solely represent the school in this situation." Etna said to the regents, "It was a very difficult negotiation." The final agreement "allows the Raiders no use of UNLV parking and allows the university to keep revenue from parking fees charged for the stadium’s 2,375 on-site parking spaces." The deal also allows UNLV to sell roughly 70% of the stadium’s expected 100 luxury suites, "keeping net revenues from those lucrative arrangements" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 1/5).