If you haven’t heard, I’m following in Aaron Simms’ footsteps out of Douglas County, who is the youngest person ever to run for county commissioner at 18 years old. I’ve got 5 years on the aspiring politician and 1 speaking point that will set me apart from my fellow candidates. I will successfully bring a professional stadium to the city of Las Vegas!
The pros of bringing a pro stadium to Las Vegas completely outweigh the cons. It would give a little jolt to our economy by creating jobs from design to construction to ushers to front office staff. The more we diversify our economy away from the hospitality industry, the faster our recession will concede and the more stable we will be for the future. Building a stadium isn’t the cure-all but it is a start and we all would love to see it happen.
Mayor Oscar Goodman has been lobbying for a professional team for years and the one thing that always holds us back is our lack of facilities. Cashman Field isn’t exactly in the best neighborhood, confining the 51s fans to people who live in North Las Vegas or people who will drive for dollar beers. The Thomas and Mack is still holding up well. There is a lot of history in the T&M and it would be dumb to wipe away all the tradition and renovations that are in place to improving their facilities. Sam Boyd Stadium is antiquated and far from any central point in Las Vegas and this is actually a live shot from the UNLV football game last night vs. Air Force.
The question now becomes what sport to bring here? Well, we had an audition for the NBA in 2007 but that didn’t exactly go well for the city. Las Vegas has never been so dirty and crime ridden for such a short amount of time and it looks like we better just stick to hosting NBA Summer League and Team USA. The NHL isn’t exactly in an expansion mode right now and the teams in the Southwest don’t do as well financially as the traditional Canadian and East Coast Teams.
We are now left with the NFL and MLB. The NFL would obviously be the most attractive option for Las Vegas but with a melting pot of fans throughout our city it would be hard to attract an NFL team with shifty fan loyalty. Not to mention, the NFL has bigger fish to fry with collective bargaining coming up and the possibility of bringing a team back to Los Angeles way ahead of Las Vegas.
I think the best case scenario for Las Vegas would be to bring a MLB team to the city that never sleeps. The Southwest has been great breeding grounds for baseball with many successful players coming out of Vegas. They also are the league that is most willing to continue with talks as Las Vegas as one of their top cities with Portland, San Antonio, Austin and Mexico City despite the complication we present with gaming.
The next item on the to-do-list becomes where. Where do we build the stadium? I have two potential options with the first being off of Tropicana Ave. and Paradise Rd. A stadium here would be both walking distance from the Strip, McCarran Airport, UNLV, with easy access to the highways just as long as it’s height stays out of fligh patterns. A stadium here would a allow for a minor tourist attraction as long as we don’t count on tourism to be a part of the fan base. It would be a breeding ground for new and young fans within close proximity to the university. And with the I-215 and I-15 both less than a mile away it allows the easy access for locals to go to go to games with ease.
While, I prefer the Tropicana location there are plenty of viable options throughout the city with the land available for a project of this size. Another potential location would be on Las Vegas Blvd. South just South of Warm Springs Rd. The acreage here is massive, it is near local hot-spots Town Square and the Las Vegas Outlet Center and again both freeways within walking distance.
The two teams on the chopping block are the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s (my personal preference). If we get the Oakland A’s we could keep the colors and change the name to the Las Vegas Aces. The name “Aces” plays both of our gaming roots and baseball specifics with pitching Aces. We could bring on Las Vegan residents Greg Maddux and Pete Rose to run the front office and it would be like we never missed a step.
The next issue becomes financing as always. If an Mark Cuban’s investor group doesn’t pony up some cashola then we have some “majuh majuh” problems. The city isnn’t exactly in a position to make it rain a stadium in the desert and it would not be ideal to make the stadium for MLB and UNLV football. While it would add value to our university, MLB doesn’t like to share facilities especially with a collegiate program. However, if we did draw from the High-Ed budget we could be playing baseball in Las Vegas by April 1, 2014.