Today, the Oakland Raiders announced that they will move to Las Vegas, Nevada, courtesy of an estimated $1.9 billion new stadium, with taxpayers on the hook for at least—at least—$750 million of that cost.
If the below rendering is any indication, the new stadium will be a shining beacon amidst the dust-choked, sun-blasted hellscape that I assume will be the Las Vegas of the future.
Professional sports teams have gotten accustomed to increasingly lavish stadium deals, though as Henry Grabar of Slate noted, the deal Las Vegas made is particularly awful. The $750 million will be paid through a hotel tax hike implemented by the Nevada state legislature. But the hotel tax also pays for local schools and transit, so if that tax generates less revenue, it will mean cuts to schools and transit in order to cover the $750 million. And that’s presuming it’ll only be $750 mil—taxpayers could be on the hook for even more if the cost of the stadium inflates or if the financials don’t pan out. And if the incredibly optimistic economic forecasts used to justify the stadium are any indication, that’s a very likely possibility. And this isn’t even considering the cost of all the new infrastructure surrounding the stadium site.
But hey, congratulations to Las Vegas. They got their team on the broken hearts of Oakland fans, who know all too well the fickle, greedy aspirations of sports team owners. Hopefully, Vegas tourists and locals will get much enjoyment from the city’s lavish new stadium, which I’m sure will be named something cringe-inducing like Allegiant Air Field and have an on-site location of Station Casinos.