Rising from the ashes of a million cigarette butts, in the shadow of a desert filled with buried body parts, looms the specter of a massive sporting palace partially funded by the largest public stadium subsidy in U.S. history.
And people were worried about the midterms?
If you want to see your tax dollars recklessly at work for the most moneyed elite in America, I’ve got two words for you:
The NFL’s ever-wandering Raiders are due to make their next stop just west of The Strip in 2020, finding safe harbor in a 65,000-seat domed stadium.
Las Vegas and the NFL is a match made in purgatory: Two soulless, sinful entertainment giants joined at the pecuniary hip at the drive-thru window of the largest Bank of America branch in Clark County.
And Las Vegas and the Raiders – late of Oakland twice, Los Angeles once and Irwindale almost once – is also the best fit imaginable, unless Mark Davis moves the team to a stadium-on-wheels that travels from town to town like a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus troupe.
Before dealing with various civic and gridiron issues here, let’s pose the perpetually existential question that my boyhood hero Albert Camus would’ve immediately asked:
Why would anyone go to an NFL game in Las Vegas?
Every sportsbook in town has every NFL game on simultaneously.
So let’s do some quick math here:
Option A: Watch up to 10 NFL games at the same time on big screens with friends for FREE and get endless cocktails for FREE. Final cost: FREE (but please tip your server).
Option B: Pay $175 for one end-zone seat at one NFL game, $35 for parking and order three beers. Final cost: $237.
P.S. While it is possible Davis will have keno concessionaires in the upper deck – “Get your red hots, get your red-hot keno cards!” – your usual array of gambling activity is available in Option A at the casino within a shot glass or two of the sportsbook.
Incidentally, Las Vegas Stadium Company chief Don Webb says they want a “family-friendly environment” at the new facility.
(Didn’t they try “family-friendly” in Las Vegas a few years back?)
Whither the Black Hole? I think not. If you’re in the wrong section at a Raiders game, it’s like being at Rikers Island minus the satellite TV package.
The new stadium, actually, will be a dome, and, well, nobody can blame them there – you think the Mirage would’ve made money as an open-roof casino?
The unofficial cost?
Only $1.8 billion. ONE POINT EIGHT BILLION. And counting.
The stadium expense is being shared – the Raiders are on the hook for $850 million, the NFL is chipping in $200 million and we, the people, will provide $750 million.
Now, the state of Nevada has chronic education, crime, homelessness, drug, gun, infrastructure and mental health issues, but none of that compares, priority-wise, with the joy of a good, late-season Broncos-Raiders game.
By the way, the $750-million public cost? By game time, I’ll take the over on $1 billion.
(Here’s the thing about Nevada – they delight in their vices. Nevada brothel owner and reality TV star Dennis Hof just was elected to the state assembly three weeks after he died. Who doesn’t love a dead pimp? And, frankly, his corpse ran a great campaign against a living woman who doesn’t have a history of exploiting other women.)
Southern Californians are happy about this Raiders development. Essentially, this gives us a third NFL team in L.A. – just a four-hour drive away, pretty comparable to our daily commute – and we didn’t spend any public money for it!
The beauty of the deal is that most of the public subsidy will come from tourists paying an increased hotel-room tax when visiting.
Sin City should change its slogan from “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” to “Whatever happens in Vegas, costs you a pretty penny and all those pretty pennies stay with the richest folks in Vegas.”
Not as catchy, but darn honest!
Ask The Slouch
Q. While watching a recent NFL game, the announcers said Cardinals coach Steve Wilks is from the Ron Rivera coaching tree, as is Bills coach Sean McDermott. I was wondering: Is there such a thing as a Hue Jackson coaching tree? (Vinnie Dinolfo; Rochester, N.Y.)
A. Yes – it’s called the weeping willow.
Q. If you had today’s super sticky NFL receiver gloves, do you think you could’ve held on to one of your ex-wives? (Michael Kolb; Spokane)
A. Perhaps, but I still would’ve been flagged for a personal foul.
Q. Pat Summerall or Chris Schenkel? (Tim Beach; Edgewater, Md.)
A. With no disrespect to either – I loved those guys – Ray Scott.
Q. How come there is not more defense in bowling? And if you could play defense, would you go for the ball or the knees? I’m asking for Patrick Beverley. (Chuck Smith; Woodbridge, Va.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email email@example.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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