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Today in the Stadium Scam



The Raiders want to move to Las Vegas. They are their partners, i.e., the always lovely Sheldon Adelson, are demanding the city pay a mere $750 million for the stadium, a number that will no doubt increase once the inevitable cost overruns take place. Adelson’s lackey says this $750 million is a non-negotiable number.

The Raiders and Sheldon Adelson: a match made in Hell. Where in fact Al Davis is still pulling the strings over this whole deal.

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  • NonyNony

    Why would Vegas even WANT a football team?

    It seems like it’s really off-brand for there to be a sporting event hosted in Vegas. Vegas should be neutral ground where every football team is treated equally – as a bag of statistics that gamblers try to make money off of.

    • Well, I’m sure the new NHL team in Vegas is really going to set attendance records!

      Although I guess to be fair, it’s entirely possible that people in Buffalo and Edmonton are going to time their Vegas vacations now to catch a game too.

      • NonyNony

        I was actually going to make a joke that an NFL team in Vegas was only marginally less stupid than an NHL team in Vegas. Then I remembered that Vegas is actually getting a hockey team.

      • Warren Terra

        Although I guess to be fair, it’s entirely possible that people in Buffalo and Edmonton are going to time their Vegas vacations now to catch a game too.

        I guess the question is, will people visiting Vegas who take in a game actually increase their entertainment spending by doing so? Because it seems likely to me that their day at the football will mean one day and $100 they don’t blow at the gaming tables – the casinos are likely to lose as much from diversion of their customers to the stadium as they might hope to make from a slight increase in visitor numbers because some people are attracted to the football.

        My recollection is that studies of spending on sports facilities showed that even when those facilities indeed demonstrate the entertainment spending their boosters claimed they would, essentially all of it is taken from other entertainment-spending options in the area – after the expense and inconvenience of the stadium and team are factored in, it’s an enormous net loss.

        (also: this is flipping football. Eight games a year. If they want more visitors, surely they should be pursuing basketball or baseball?)

        • Bill Murray

          also: this is flipping football. Eight games a year. If they want more visitors, surely they should be pursuing basketball or baseball?

          One assumes they are, but the NFL was easier to buy off/get a franchise approved to go there

    • Murc

      It seems like it’s really off-brand for there to be a sporting event hosted in Vegas.

      … boxing?

      • Nobdy

        And look how squeaky clean that sport has stayed despite many huge fights happening in Vegas!

    • Nobdy

      Players can come in for the big game, do a little gambling, get in too deep, and be under the thumb of the shady casino bosses. Win/Win.

      Seriously though, lots of fans travel for NFL games and would bring people into the city so it makes sense for Vegas (though not the NFL) but definitely not $750 million worth of sense.

      • Juicy_Joel

        “bring people into the city “

        Does Vegas have a problem with this right now?

        • Nobdy

          It never hurts to have more? If I were in charge of economic development in Vegas I would be interested in a team but obviously not at this price (or really any public funding beyond basic infrastructure stuff.)

          • Juicy_Joel

            If the stadium gets built and in each game every seat is filled by a visitor (who would not have otherwise visited the city) it would increase the visitor count by 650,000/year or approximately 1.5% of the number of visitors in 2015.

            An MLS team would hypothetically share the same stadium and potentially increase those numbers, but overall the increase in tourism due to the construction of the stadium has got to be trivial.

            • Nobdy

              Other than boomtowns in Silicon Valley I doubt there are any cities that wouldn’t be interested in a project that could expand their primary industry by 1.5%.

              1.5% is not trivial in the least, do you understand how economic growth works? Even if only half the attendees are visitors it would still be a significant and valuable project at those numbers.

              Does that make it worth almost a billion dollars? Of course not.I said that to begin with. But it makes it an attractive idea for economic development types.

              • efgoldman

                But it makes it an attractive idea for economic development types.

                Yeah, as long as they don’t pay for it.

            • CrunchyFrog

              And of course the majority of seats would be occupied by locals, and another chunk would be people who happened to be in town anyway so decided to attend. The the increase in visitors would be something more like 0.5% – and even that’s optimistic. They would get the one-time Super Bowl that all cities with new Stadia get, but even when you add that to the total it should be clear that they could get a lot more for that $750M investment than football.

              And, as stated above, the actual cost will be much higher. The football team would demand, and get, tax breaks and special arrangements that mean that the stadium operations would in practice be subsidized by the local and/or state governments, and that offsetting revenue from any other events in the stadium would basically just pay for costs after the NFL team contractually skims the profits from those events for reasons such as “locker room rental”.

              On top of everything else, the reason these deals are so bad for the locals is that the government officials doing the negotiations have zero incentive to get a good deal, and every incentive to get the deal through.

              • Juicy_Joel

                “They would get the one-time Super Bowl that all cities with new Stadia get”

                Would they though? My understanding was that the NFL won’t go lower than 80k for Super Bowl host sites and I haven’t seen anything about the 65K seating capacity being “expandable” (like the new Carson CA stadium is is).

                • Juicy_Joel

                  “the new Carson CA stadium”


            • erick

              one argument is the stadium adds convention space so it can be used a lot more than just for football and soccer.

              Vegas is one of the few cities where that might be true. But what I’ve heard is the majority of Vegas business leaders want to expand convention space near the existing convention center, not where they plan to build the stadium. Currently overflow from the convention center is taken up by the nearby Sands convention center. A stadium at a different location won’t change that.

              Wanna guess who owns the Sands convention center?

              • N__B

                Wanna guess who owns the Sands convention center?


                [Too soon?]

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  possibly too long

              • Funkhauser

                The Riviera was torn down and is where the new expanded Convention Center is going. Adelson has fought using public funds for this center expansion because the new expanded center will compete with his own (located behind the Venetian). Convention center expansion at the former Riviera site is going forward despite Adelson’s objections.

                The football/soccer stadium would be located at the south end of the main Strip, south of Mandalay Bay, and is not (currently) an ideal for conventions – long walk/drive to main hotels.

                • erick

                  Yeah, I thought he was trying to get them to use the funds that were approved for the convention center diverted to the stadium

                • daves09

                  The casinos will buy suites-for the highest high rollers- and blocs of the best seats for lesser mortals.
                  Every time there’s a game they’ll invite their customers from the visiting team’s city to come to the game as part of their high roller package.
                  Someone should suggest that the hotels contribute the 750M based on how many rooms they have. But off course Adelson would hate it-how dare they ask him for money-what are they communists.
                  Far better to give millions to scummy repubs..

            • KadeKo

              First, love the classic Rainbow avatar.

              Second, MLS has been largely steering away from putting their games on in huge stadia. There are exceptions, like the fan support in Seattle, and also co-ownership in New England. Without co-ownership I see no benefit for a Vegas MLS team to play in an NFL-size venue unless they draw like the Sounders.

              Like anything else in Vegas, such as the XFL, CFL
              and UFL the question is, will the fans show?

              (Not remembering much about Vegas and soccer, I found that they have a PDL team–three levels below MLS–and an indoor MASL team.)

  • Juicy_Joel

    But think of all the great high paying jobs the stadium will create for ten days year!

  • efgoldman

    Hey, if Vegas won’t bribe pay Duh Raiduhs, someplace else will. Death Valley, maybe, or Bear Creek. Or maybe Duckwater or Nixon, NV.

    • The Dark God of Time

      The choices are clearly Boron or Needles.

      • efgoldman

        The choices are clearly Boron or Needles.

        Or maybe 86431.
        I’ve actually been there. The only bar/restaurant in town has laminated maps of Narragansett Bay on the tables, and serves iced coffee all year round. The owner had a motel in Newport, and retired to the desert.

        Forgot the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloride,_Arizona

        • The Dark God of Time

          BARSTOW: Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California

          Number One

          [spoken] It’s January twenty-six. I’m freezing. Ed Fitzgerald, Age nineteen. five feet ten inches, black hair, brown eyes. Going home to Boston Massachusetts, It’s four p.m., and I’m hungry and broke. I wish I was dead. But today I am a man.

          [sung] Going home to Boston, yuh-huh, Massachusetts. It’s four p.m., and I’m hungry and broke. I wish I was dead. But today I am a man — Oh– O, I’m going home– to Boston, yuh-huh, Massachusetts.

          Number Two

          [spoken] Gentlemen: Go to five-thirty East Lemon Avenue, Monrovia, California, for an easy handout.

          [sung] Go to five-thirty East Lemon Avenue, in Monrovia for an easy handout, gentlemen. Yo-ho-ho — Yoo-hoo-hooo — Ya-ha-ha– Yee-hee-hee– Go to five-thirty East Lemon Avenue, in Monrovia for an easy handout, gentlemen. Yo-ho-ho — Yoo-hoo-hooo — Ya-ha-ha — Yee-hee-hee

          Number Three

          [spoken] Marie Blackwell. Age nineteen. Brown eyes, brown hair, considered pretty. One-eighteen East Ventura Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Object: matrimony.

          [sung] Age nineteen, Brown eyes, brown hair, Oh, but I’m considered pretty. Here’s where I live-Dah dah dah dah — One-eighteen East Ventura Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Taa — Ta-ta-ta ta-ta-ta-ta-ta — ta-ta-ta — ta-ta-taa- My object is – Yoo-hoo-hoo – Matrimony!


          • Warren Terra
            • The Dark God of Time

              I prefer the Columbia Records version.

              [Version: Johnston, 1996 – Recorded: 1996] Most Meadow’s visitors are well aware of my thoughts on this example: I do not believe that this transcription should have been done. Ben Johnston, after being commissioned by the Kronos Quartet’s David Harrington, took on the task of translating the 1943 version for string quartet, eliminating most of the Kithara part in the process. I include it here for completeness, and let you be the judge; there is more discussion of this ‘arrangement’ elsewhere in the Meadows. I have no doubt what Partch would have to say about it – “Pure poop”, or something a bit stronger.


    • erick

      I think the next choice would be San Antonio, who already has the Alamo Dome. And really makes the most sense, I think they are by far the largest market without an NFL team

    • Saskexpat

      I always thought Pyongyang would be a great fit for the Raiders. There would be a real symmetry between the way the team and the local government operate.

  • Saskexpat

    Things like this are why I no longer watch big-time sports, along with the rampant misogyny and CTE.

  • Warren Terra

    Not mentioned above, and at a glance not at the linked story:

    [Las Vegas Review-Journal] editor to reporters: Ask candidates about public stadium funding but not for the newspaper

    Reporters for Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper have been told to ask candidates if they support public money for the stadium proposed by the Las Vegas Sands chairman but that the Las Vegas Review-Journal will not actually publish the answers.

    This astonishing request was made in a memo two weeks ago from Assistant City Editor Don Ham:

    • Nobdy

      Is it just me or does it seen like our billionaires are getting more cartoonishly evil with the aspiring vampirism and the turning a newspaper into personal errand boys and the running for president as an open white supremacist.

      I feel like they weren’t always this bad. When Ross Perot ran for president he was just kind of earnest and goofy, not cartoonishly evil. He had graphs, not racist memes.

      • No, they were always this bad.

        • rea

          Frick, Gould, JP Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller–of course billionaires (in constant dollars) were always cartoonishly evil!

        • Mike in DC

          Psychopathy is supposedly 3-4x more prevalent among senior business management than among the general population.

      • Turkle

        “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.”

      • Mike G

        I worked for Perot Systems in the 90s. He was a dictatorial paranoid nutjob.

      • Halloween Jack

        Ross Perot was one of the primary proponents of the Vietnam POW myth, and made racist comments about Maya Lin after her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was revealed. He also took over the third-party movement and ran it into the ground. He’s not a nice guy, no matter how earnestly goofy Dana Carvey portrayed him as in SNL sketches.

  • Sebastian_h

    Ugh, don’t remind me, the Chargers and San Diego are about to go a round where I’m pretty sure they are about to grab all of our money.

    • StellaB

      Except that the new stadium budget for the Chargers is $1.8B of which the city is expected to pay a mere $1.2B while the Chargers and the NFL kick in $600M. In order to cover the bonds, the good Republicans who own the Chargers and the NFL are proposing a tax increase on hotels from 12.5% to 16.5%. This is, of course, not a tax on the billionaires who own the teams, just on the 99.99%, so quite acceptable. Happily the initiative requires a two thirds majority to pass.

  • Because Las Vegas isn’t sucking all of the water out of the region fast enough.

    • pianomover

      Water? You mean like in the toilet?

      • iliketurtles

        I’ve never seen no plants grow out of no toilet.

      • It’s got electrolites. It’s what plants crave!

    • JBL

      My East Coast sensibilities want to agree with this, but in fact urban Las Vegas is an exemplary consumer of water. (Agriculture in the region is what uses up the lion’s share of the available water.)

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Fans of the Oakland A’s are really hoping that this works out for the Raiders ASAP.

    • efgoldman

      Fans of the Oakland A’s are really hoping that this works out for the Raiders ASAP.

      All two dozen of them?

      • Denverite

        We’re not counting dead people.

        • I think it would be great if the A’s moved to Colma!!!

          • I’d forgotten Colma. 73% of its land is cemeteries. Living population in 2013: 1,492.

            • mikeSchilling

              Is that Colma or Columbus?

    • The sooner the Raiders are gone from Oakland, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

      • efgoldman

        The sooner the Raiders are gone from Oakland, the better

        What are those drunk, costumed weirdos gonna’ do on Sundays?

        • They’ll just go to a biker rally in Modesto.

          • mikeSchilling

            True story: I used to work with a guy who was looking for a new hobby, He was considering getting Raiders’ season tickets, so he went to a game to check it out, and it was so scary he vowed never to go back. So instead he took up motorcycle racing.

            • I have a family friend who used to work for the Eagles, and now works for the Chiefs (yes, he’s one of Andy Reid’s assistants).

              I went to a couple of 49ers-Eagles games, and sat in the Eagles staff family members’ section. There was some jeering.

              When he moved to the Chiefs, and they had to play the Raiders, he decided it wasn’t a good idea for us to go to the game.

  • AMK

    A year or so ago there was a hoax app called “Rumblr” that was billed as Tinder for fighting. It would supposedly connect you with other guys in your area who wanted to blow off some steam by throwing a few punches. Cool concept….except it was illegal by default because of unlicensed boxing laws.

    But sure, spend $750 million that the city (like every other city) will never see again so a clique of filthy Likudniks and the fancy locker room ass-slappers in their employ can play Mandingo plantation with kids from poor backgrounds who are too brainwashed by their communities and the broader culture to know the difference (before they get Alzhiemers at 40!).

    Soccer finally becoming popular in America is a great thing.

    • efgoldman

      Soccer finally becoming popular in America….

      …is something that people have been touting for forty years or more. Average MLS gate = 21500. To the men’s National team, the World Cup is a fantasy rumor.
      You’ll still be waiting when I’m gone, no matter how many kids are playing.

      • Domino

        As someone who has been a season ticket holder for 4 years now to Sporting Kansas City games:

        Soccer has grown in leaps and bounds, but the main challenge for the sport is TV viewership now. Which is not to dismiss all the positive developments:

        When the league started, there were no dedicated soccer-specific stadiums. Now most teams play in one. And one that doesn’t (New England Revolution) finally has their owners (the Krafts) talking about going ahead to build a SSS.

        Considering how the league started, and how it was preceeded by the league folding, MLS has done very well for itself.

        Where it will be in 10 years? That, I’m not sure

      • Bill Murray

        Average MLS gate = 21500

        average NBA gate is about equal to the average NHL gate ~17,500

        by average gate, MLS is the 3rd best attended US sports league

    • Just a Rube

      If you expect soccer owners to be less corrupt/greedy when the sport hits the bigtime, you might want to take a look at every other country with soccer.

      And I haven’t seen studies, but I’m honestly not sure that soccer is significantly better on the concussion/brain damage front; heading is a normal part of the game, and not everyone rolling around on the ground after a collision is faking it.

  • cpinva

    I hope Las Vegas tells them where to stick their stadium and their team, and it’ non-negotiable.

    • efgoldman

      Eventually, enough municipalities will tell teams to go pound sand, that most of the games will be played on huge sound stages in front of green screens and a CGI crowd.
      Of course, that doesn’t do a lot for beer and concession sales.

  • KC

    As a Raider fan, it’s embarrassing to see the team attempt to shakedown taxpayers, especially after a decade of bad football.

    • Domino

      As a Chiefs fan, I’ll never forget the season the Raiders went 6-0 against the AFC West and did not make the playoffs.

  • semiotix

    Adelson’s lackey says this $750 million is a non-negotiable number.


  • And L.A. gets the damn Rams back. It’s one thing to move inside a great state like Calif. but effing off to Missouri for 20 yrs. & coming back is bullshit.

    • mikeSchilling

      It’s completely different. The Rams went to St. Louis because they were offered a band-new stadium and a shit-ton of money, but they came back to LA because they were offered a brand-new stadium and a shit-ton of money

      • cpinva

        I see what you did there.

        ok, I have to admit, I’d be curious to see what the cheerleaders’ outfits would look like. you know, could they show them on national tv?

        • sparks

          I’m sure they could with the right adhesives.

        • mikeSchilling

          I’m sure they could. If HBO counts.

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