By Ken Reed

Earlier this week, the Nevada state senate approved giving Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis $750 million towards a new Las Vegas sports palace for his team to play in. If the state assembly also votes to approve the deal, it would be the largest public subsidy ever for an American stadium or arena.

Nevada governor Brian Sandoval (R) is leading the fight for the new stadium, despite budget problems that could result in cuts to critical public services.

“We have a woefully underfunded education system,” said Annette Magnus, the executive director of Battle Born Progress, one of the groups opposing the deal.

“We can’t build new schools … because we don’t have the money for it. We haven’t properly funded our mental health system since the ‘90s. They’re going to have to balance this budget, so they’re going to have to cut critical services. But they’re willing to raise a tax to build a billionaire a stadium.”

Proponents claim the new stadium would be a huge boost to the local economy. However, sports economists believe there’s little evidence to support such a claim. In fact, Stanford economist Roger Noll said claims of big tourism increases in Vegas have “no basis in reality.”

“No NFL stadium in the country generates tourism for regular season games that accounts for more than a few percent of attendance,” according to Noll. “And people who do travel for games typically spend minimal time – one night at most.”

Despite odds stacked against them, taxpayer groups are fighting hard to stop Sandoval from pushing the new stadium through without a public vote.

“The fix was in to jam this through with as little public scrutiny as possible,” said Bob Fulkerson, the state director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). “They knew the more the public got to look at this, the more they would vomit all over it.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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