Las Vegas Set To Begin Negotiations On Building MLS Stadium
The Las Vegas City Council passed a resolution to "begin negotiations with a developer to build" an MLS stadium as part of a "mixed-use development at the downtown Cashman Center site," according to Justin Emerson of the LAS VEGAS SUN. The city yesterday "approved a proposal to enter into an agreement with Renaissance Companies Inc. to come up with a master plan over the next 180 days for redevelopment of the 62-acre site." That would include a soccer venue, as well as "business, commercial and residential areas." Once Renaissance and the city "agree to a plan for a stadium, they will submit a bid to house the 30th MLS team," and the USL Las Vegas Lights "would be that team." Lights Owner & CEO Brett Lashbrook has "agreed to sell the team" to Boston-based hedge fund manager Seth Klarman, "contingent on the approval of the master plan." Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tem Lois Tarkanian said that stadium funding is her "only objection." She asked the developers to "try not to take a whole lot of taxpayers’ money." Renaissance Chair Floyd Kephart said that he is "not sure where that negotiation will go, and it may include public money" (LASVEGASSUN.com, 6/6).
THE SHOWDOWN: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel wrote the city is "hungry" for an MLS team, and a "fascinating showdown is shaping up between two possibilities." Outside of the Cashman proposal, Golden Knights Owner Bill Foley is "lending his support to an idea of having an MLS team play" in the new Raiders stadium (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 6/5). Foley said he is "very interested" in bringing MLS to Las Vegas. He added, "We could be just as successful with soccer as we have been with hockey. We already have infrastructure and staffing in place to make it very successful in all areas. I believe the Raiders stadium in a controlled temperature environment would be the best venue, but if that didn’t work, I would consider (building) a soccer-specific stadium. I’ve already been shown five sites in and around the tourist district where it could work." But in Las Vegas, Ed Graney writes the "downtown plan for a smaller, soccer-specific venue, even an open-air one, fits the mold" of what MLS wants "better than playing in a 65,000-seat NFL stadium." Such an edge for the Cashman plan "might disappear, however, if Foley teamed with another -- say, um, the MGM -- to build their own venue." Foley: "I would be the majority (owner) of the team, but we already have several interested investors" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/6).