Nearly half of the 1.7M fans who packed sporting and music events at Allegiant Stadium in 2022 were tourists, according to a new report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. That is nearly double the number that was originally forecast.
Stadium Authority chair Steve Hill — who also serves as president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority — told the newspaper that his organization had predicted that tourism would account for only 27% of an average Allegiant crowd. Instead, that number turned out to be somewhere between 40% and 49%.
About 65% of the approximately 500K fans who attended the last five Raider home games of last season (or 325K) came from out of town, according to the stadium authority, with a high of 69% for the December 18, 2022 matchup against the New England Patriots.
But the highest percentage of tourists was the whopping 87% (or 48,716 fans) in the stands for the October 8, 2022 one-off Shamrock Series football game between Notre Dame and BYU. According to the stadium authority, 81% of those fans traveled to Las Vegas specifically to attend that game.
In Your Face, Doubters!
This is great news for Las Vegas tourism, the kind winning converts of those who opposed the original plan to build Allegiant.
Constructed between 2017 and 2020 to bring the NFL’s Raiders over from Oakland, the stadium cost $1.9B. That makes it the second most expensive stadium ever built — after the Rams’ $5.5B SoFi Stadium in LA. The difference is that SoFi was 100% privately funded, while $750M of Allegiant’s price tag was footed by municipal bonds issued by Clark County. Those bonds were backed by the proceeds of a 1.4% special tax on Las Vegas hotel rooms — a tax that also partially funded an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
In 2016, two grassroots lobbying organizations fiercely opposed the public funding, noting that it came at a time when state budgets had been slashed by $300M to cover shortfalls. In a statement made at the time, Nevadans for the Common Good said the stadium deal “involves substantial risk to the public without providing commensurate community benefits.” A statement from the Nevada Taxpayers Association noted that there was “significant data indicating that subsidized stadiums can be a detriment to a community.”
News of Allegiant’s unexpectedly high 2022 contribution to Las Vegas tourism was enough to get at least one former naysayer singing a new tune. In 2016, Tick Segerblom, now a Clark County Commissioner, was one of only five state senators who voted against Allegiant’s public funding.
“The truth is, I think it’s beat everybody’s wildest expectations,” Segerblom told the R-J. “It filled a void and now we can hold any event in the world. It really has been incredibly beneficial.”
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