Raiders Possible Move to Vegas Spurs Proposal for Largest Taxpayer Subsidy Ever for NFL Stadium

Only days after the National Hockey League awarded Las Vegas its first major professional team, the debate over how Sin City would pay for a stadium for its first football team resulted in the largest taxpayer subsidy ever proposed for an NFL team.

For decades the nation’s major sports leagues have steered clear of Vegas because the desert city is a Mecca for gambling, but now that the barrier has been torn down with the NHL’s official move, the National Football League may follow hockey into Las Vegas.

The town has been wheeling and dealing with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to become the owner of what many expect would be a re-located Oakland Raiders franchise. And now Adelson has made his first major overture to the city to find funding for the stadium that would have to be built to host an NFL team and the proposal is a doozy.

According to Bloomberg, Adelson proposes that the new 65,000-seat, domed stadium would need a commitment of $750 million from the City of Las Vegas. Were it to become a done deal the plan would be the largest expenditure of tax dollars ever enacted for an NFL team.

The public share, to be raised by a .9 percent sales tax on hotel rooms in the city–or about $1.08 per room, per night added to current hotel costs–is not yet being protested by locals, but the tax plan is not set in stone.

The next largest public share for a stadium was the $620 million the City of Indianapolis paid for Lucas Oil Stadium, followed by the $500 million paid in Minnesota for U.S. Bank Stadium.

There is already a counter proposal to Adelson’s idea, though. Steve Hill, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s top economic adviser, has suggested that the public share be scaled back to $500 million and the private-sector share raised to $900 million.

Negotiations are still in flux as the NFL’s decision over whether or not to even award Vegas with the opportunity to host a team looms.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com


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