Station Stadium brought to you by the Fertitta's and Las Vegas Raiders?

August 09, 2016 3:09 AM
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The Fertitta boys – that’s Frank and Lorenzo – are said to have a strong interest in taking the proposed domed stadium proposal under their very capable wings as a private venture, forgetting about a public money component.

They’d like to put the stadium, I’m told, on the hundred-plus acre Wild Wild West truck plaza site at Tropicana and I-15, land that is already under study by an 11-member committee of local business and civic leaders who will meet again Aug. 25.

Their recent sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship for $4 billion, give or take a few bucks, suggests the Fertittas would not have any trouble footing the bill for a project like the proposed stadium that could cost about $2 billion and become home for what we now know as the Oakland Raiders.

The speculation to this effect came my way from multiple parties in a position to know what they’re talking about. Of course, in this case they may not know what they’re talking about, a fact that has done little to turn down the volume on the speculation.

I made several calls to the Station Casinos headquarters, making it clear why I was calling. I’m still waiting for a response. That is not necessarily surprising since there are probably any number of details in need of careful attention, assuming there is anything to this speculation.

“There is another possibility you must consider.” This coming from a friend who was already familiar with the speculation involving the two top executives in Station Casinos and its publicly traded parent company Red Rock Resorts.

What’s that? I asked.

“Maybe they think the idea is too silly to deserve a response.”

I agreed this was a possibility.

“Or,” he continued, “Maybe they’re running around taking care of all the little details that would be important to a deal like this.”

Yes, there is always that, I agreed.

“If they want to do this with private money,” a senior executive with another company said, “they could break ground in six months and really move this thing along.”

I reached out to Steve Wynn for his thoughts on this issue, but he responded through a spokesperson that he considered himself to be out of the loop on this issue for the time being.

The Wynn Resorts golf course land just east of the Wynn-Encore complex has been mentioned as an alternate site for the stadium since the monorail runs parallel to it along Paradise Road and its 140 acres offer enough land for all kinds of creative designing.

But Wynn is busy these days with the $4.2 billion Wynn Palace in Macau due to open in two weeks and the construction just started on his company’s $2 billion Boston Harbor resort.

But getting back to the possible interest of the Fertittas in taking on the stadium project by themselves with possible participation by partners…

Owning a stadium is not going to be a money maker by itself, according to an executive with another company. “You’re gonna want a piece of the team and I have not heard anyone talk about how much of the Raiders (owner Mark) Davis is willing to give up.”

Or does he want to give up any of it?

The Fertittas are thought to have a strong interest in becoming an NFL owner some day. That thought has already been explored in several news stories, and Lorenzo has agreed the interest in an eventual NFL ownership is alive and well.

The issue seems to be when and where the time will be right.

The time did not appear to the right as recently as a couple months ago, but two or three years ago it seemed impossible to imagine there would come a day any time soon when there would be serious conversation about any major league sports team deciding to call Las Vegas home.

This kind of talk led to further conversation about the likelihood NFL owners will approve any one of them moving to Las Vegas. But the recent evolution of attitudes suggests this will probably not be a problem.

The Fertittas are leading an aggressive growth oriented company and may have decided getting a stadium built as quickly as possible is a step in the right direction.

If that’s the case, I’m hoping they remember to accommodate the needs of a major league baseball team.