This morning the NFL owners voted in favor to approve the Oakland Raiders move from the bay area to Las Vegas, 31-1 with the Miami Dolphins the only team who voted no. So, what does this mean for the Las Vegas traveler?
Quite a bit.
The most obvious is that starting in August and through the slow-season, Vegas will have 10 chances to entice football fans across the country to visit to watch their teams play. As March Madness wraps up this coming weekend, the effect of sports on the strip is fresh. Fans from all over the country tend to congregate in Vegas for big sporting events. This will offer a unique opportunity to watch your team in the desert and while enjoying all the amenities Vegas offers.
While this move is good for Vegas, it poses a threat to tourism. $750 million of the proposed stadium budget will be funded by public money. This is becoming a rarity in sports as cities no longer want to foot the bill for a stadium for billionaire owners who are unwilling to put up their own money. I understand both sides of this, but in Vegas’ case there is an odd component that will affect you next time you stay in Las Vegas.
To raise that 750 million dollars in publically financed money, Las Vegas has raised their hotel tax. While the tax is meager at just under 1%, it yet again raises the already expensive costs to visit Vegas.
If the hotels and casinos continue to raise resort fees and promote stadiums priced at 1.9 billion dollars at some point visitors (like myself) will say enough and go to other places that cost effectively the same price. The incredible part is how the city and state government managed to pass a tax that doesn’t initially affect the citizens’ wallet. Instead they circumvent the effect until the tourists get fed up and stop visiting all together.
While it’s exciting to think of what a 60,000 person venue could provide in terms of entertainment outside of football through the rest of the year—big music festivals, award shows, basketball championships, etc.—it poses the question at what point will tourists change why they go to Vegas. The free drinks, free parking, cheap steak dinners, and affordable entertainment are gone with the nostalgia of old Vegas.
Anyway, that’s the way I see it.