It was already a tight timeframe, and reality may be catching up with city officials crafting a Las Vegas MLS stadium plan, with a 29 million funding gap still on the table and a Sept. 1 deadline looming.
Unfortunately, there’s one huge issue facing city officials, Cordish Cos. and Findlay Sports & Entertainment regarding a Las Vegas MLS stadium plan: there appears to be a $29 million funding gap. This comes after the three main players first laid out a financial plan that called for the city to put in 74 percent of the capital needed and the developers 26 percent for the $201 million project. That’s a far cry from the 50-50 plan first proposed by all sides. There are also questions about how developers would recoup their investment: with no plans for an entertainment district near the stadium (there would be a revolt among downtown casino/hotel owners if a competitor to Fremont Street Experience was funded by the city), events at the stadium would need to generate enough revenue to cover debt service.
These are all daunting challenges even without a rather imminent deadline coming up. Adding to the complexity: the city wants to see Findlay Sports & Entertainment land an MLS team before committing to the stadium, and even with a Dec. 1 deadline, that may not happen. With several other cities in the mix — Minneapolis, Miami, Sacramento, El Paso — to land a team, there’s no guarantee MLS will commit to Vegas without a firm stadium plan in place.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down on the Las Vegas MLS stadium plan. The city has already scrapped an Aug. 20 City Council hearing on the proposed financial plan because of the aforementioned issues, and downtown casino/hotel owners have shown a remarkable lack of interest in working at all on a Las Vegas MLS stadium proposal. The Sept. 1 deadline is looming, and perhaps the key date will be Sept. 17, the earliest the City Council could address a Sept. 1 budget proposal.