Las Vegas Exploring Deal For New Soccer Stadium For MLS Club
The Las Vegas City Council will "consider a deal next week to build a new soccer stadium on the site of Cashman Field to house" a potential MLS expansion franchise, according to a front-page piece by Shea Johnson of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. If city leaders approve the exclusive negotiating agreement with Arizona-based construction management firm The Renaissance Companies on Wednesday, it will "set off a 180-day window for talks to construct the stadium and mixed-use development on 62 acres where city-owned Cashman Field is located near downtown, with hopes of reaching a master development agreement." Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said that the idea beyond the new stadium would be to "build hotels and apartments while keeping Cashman Field to allow Las Vegas Lights FC to continue to play" in the USL until the team was "ready to join the MLS, and then be used as a practice field." The exclusive negotiating agreement also requires that Lights ownership "work with the city to submit an application to MLS for the Lights to become an expansion team." Lights Owner & CEO Brett Lashbrook said that he has "agreed to sell the team to an investor represented by Renaissance, contingent upon the company and the city entering into the master development agreement." City documents made public yesterday "show the investor is Baupost Group LLC, a hedge fund managed by billionaire Seth Klarman" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/30).
A STEP FORWARD: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel noted the potential 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium "still has not been priced out." Lights coach Eric Wynalda said that a new downtown soccer stadium "would attract global soccer teams like Real Madrid that would play friendlies and make Las Vegas a 'global soccer destination.'" Meanwhile, Lashbrook said that Goodman "plans to attend the MLS expansion committee meeting in Orlando in July to lobby for Las Vegas as an expansion city" (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 5/29). Also in Las Vegas, Justin Emerson notes Las Vegas five years ago "attempted a bid for an MLS team." Developers proposed a $201M stadium, of which the city of Las Vegas "would pick up" 76% of the cost and "own the stadium." City officials said that they "expected the split to be closer to 50-50" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 5/30).