There’s only one more MLS spot up for grabs. No wonder Las Vegas businessmen are showing off their proposition of a retractable roof and air-conditioned stands. Their bid is shortlisted and might earn the city its first top class team.
By 2020 MLS is expected to grow from 19 to 24 teams. Four spots are already taken by New York City FC, Orlando City and two yet unnamed teams from Miami and Atlanta. Each of these clubs already has a stadium design or at least a solid scheme of building one. This is a major challenge set by the MLS for bidding investors.
Current list of interested cities is expected to involve six more locations: Austin and San Antonio (Texas), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Sacramento and San Diego (California) and Las Vegas. The casino city has very little to show for itself in terms of professional sports, though it’s not little at all with nearly 2 million inhabitants of the metropolitan area. Yet it’s been two decades of futile attempts to bring a major team of any league to Nevada.
The Findlay Group, local car dealership tycoon, hopes to make a change. Recently Justin Findlay assured enthusiast during a meeting that their city is shortlisted and very likely to have the desired team. Now they have to have a stadium to show for the ambition, especially in terms of financing.
This is where LV city council comes in, soon (Aug 20) to vote on the funding scheme. The 24,000-seat stadium, which is proposed to have a retractable roof and air-conditioning ducts every three rows in the stands to help minimize the Las Vegas heat, will require some public funding for a project previously estimated between $150 million and $200 million.
Findlay didn’t release specifics on public funding but said it wouldn’t require a property tax increase. Public money would come from bonds, which would be repaid from a sales-tax district. The tax collected on the sale of tickets to events at the stadium or food sold at those events would help pay off the bonds.
If the stadium falls through, the MLS franchise might go down the drain too. However, it would be a real shame, because the concept looks very promising. With the city’s harsh climate key aspect of the design is to provide optimum playing and watching conditions.
The stadium located almost at the very heart of LV won’t have a solid, opaque external wrap, allowing natural ventilation. At the same time all stands will be covered from the sun and so will – on matchdays – be the field. Air-conditioning ducts will be installed every three rows, enabling temperature reduction by roughly 20 degrees (or 10°C).