the tanner ba'

Vegas, Baby. VEGAS!!

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.34.12 PM

Today The Tanner Ba’ is please to present a guest by Kevin Nellis (@kevinnellis).  Kevin is an educator, a triathlete, and most importantly in this context, one of the crew from the Avoiding the Drop days.  When Avoiding the Drop was a going concern there was nobody better than Kevin at sorting through all of the financial and organizational tangles of the football world to find the core issues concerning the game itself.  I’m happy to say that in the intervening years Kevin has not lost his touch in this regard and today he lends his considerable analytic skills to the possibility (probability?) of an MLS franchise in Las Vegas and all that a move like this might entail.  Please do Kevin the kindness of commenting on his work, following him on Twitter, or just loitering suspiciously outside of his house- whatever works best for you.

The proposed site for a soccer-specific MLS stadium in Las Vegas.

The proposed site for a soccer-specific MLS stadium in Las Vegas.

#MLS2LV

This is the hashtag that the development group here in Vegas is using to let Major League Soccer know that we really, really, really want an MLS franchise for Las Vegas.

Before going any further however, a brief history lesson is needed. Oscar Goodman, former mob lawyer, was elected mayor of Las Vegas in 1999 and one of his biggest pushes during his 12 years as mayor was to get a professional sports franchise to locate to Las Vegas. He tried wooing three different MLB teams (Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, and Florida Marlins). Given baseball’s well documented abhorance of gambling, most of the residents here thought this was a waste of time, energy, and tax payer money. He also attempted to woo the San Diego Chargers of the NFL, but was unsuccessful (and more wasteful?) in those two attempts. After finishing his 3rd term/12 years as mayor, his wife Carolyn was elected and is currently mayor. And, she is still trying to create a “Goodman Legacy” by getting a professional sports team to Las Vegas.

Lest you think I am against a professional soccer (or any other sport) team, please know in advance that I would love it. I have lived in Las Vegas for nearly 25 years, longer than any other place in my life. I have worked for the school district here. Fell in love and married my wife of 23 years here. All four of my children were born here. Las Vegas is home for me.

The proposed stadium (featuring a retractable roof).

The proposed stadium (featuring a retractable roof).

The two groups behind this MLS push are respectable and have successful track records in a variety of sports ventures. If anyone could make this happen it would be the Findlay Group and the Cordish Companies working together. Unfortunately, the timing is wrong. Too many things are working against this project:

  1. The Las Vegas economy is just beginning to crawl out of the 2008 depression (and is was a depression for us locally).
  2. The City of Las Vegas last year rejected a request of $1.7 million to hire around 50 more police officers.
  3. They have borrowed from the city’s reserve fund to make ends meet for the last few years.
  4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is a casino group that is also attempting to fund a stadium project and woo MLS in direct competition to the Findlay/Cordish project. Anyone who has lived in Nevada for even a short length of time knows that the casinos have the final say on all public works projects.

So while #MLS2LV may be trending over the next few days as the City Council votes on final approval for this plan on Wednesday morning, I would sadly say that your best bet is to wish Minneapolis or San Antonio congratulations on MLS Team 24.

*****

One of us will be back with the results of tomorrow’s vote.
Thanks again, Kevin!
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One comment on “Vegas, Baby. VEGAS!!

  1. Kevin
    September 4, 2014

    After five hours of community input, debate, and discussion. The Las Vegas City Council decided to do it all over again and postpone a non-binding vote for another two weeks.

    From the live feed I was following intermittently through the afternoon, it would appear the vote is currently 3 for and 3 against public funding. The unknown and deciding vote appears to lie with Lois Tarkanian, wife of legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian.

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This entry was posted on September 2, 2014 by in Finances, Football Stadia, Major League Soccer, The Rumor Mill and tagged , , .
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