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Report: Las Vegas stadium proposal on the rocks

LasVegasStadium_Interior (FindlaySportsLV)


Las Vegas may have to wait a few more years before bringing an MLS club to the city.

A stadium proposal jointly made by the Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports & Entertainment won’t receive City Council approval at the next meeting on Oct. 1, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The proposal is backed by Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman and a pair of council members, but councilwoman Lois Tarkanian represents the swing vote and has decided not to vote in favor of the stadium due to fears over public funding for the stadium. As such, MLS expansion likely won’t be coming to Las Vegas any time soon, considering that a new stadium is a prerequisite for nearly every expansion franchise.

The Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports & Entertainment announced on Aug. 26 a $200 million proposal for a stadium with a capacity of upwards of 24,000. Including the expected $100 million MLS expansion fee and interest and other payments, the full cost of the operation is expected to rise to more than $410 million.

The proposal originally claimed that 69 percent of the project would be covered by private funding, but a closer look showed that public funding would cover around 75 percent of the total stadium cost, or around $150 million. In addition, the deal called for Cordish and Findlay partnership to pay the city $3.5 million per year in rent and another $500,000-$1.5 million in non-soccer revenue over the course of 30 years.

A controversy broke after numbers were released that showed the proposal double-counting rent to the city, and a revised financial list was even more confusing for the City Council to wrap their heads around. The new figures included an assumption that an MLS expansion team playing in the stadium would contribute to paying rent, though there are plenty of questions as to if they’d make enough profit from the onset to even afford that.

Taking all this into account, Tarkanian has decided that she’d prefer not to vote in favor of a stadium, according to the report.

“I don’t feel comfortable with Cordish as a partner,” Tarkanian said. “Professionally, I felt we were not treated fairly.”

Cordish is Baltimore-based real estate development company specializing in casinos and entertainment districts.

“I don’t feel like spending a lot of taxpayer monies on it,” Tarkanian added. “People do want a stadium, but they don’t want the use of public money.”

MLS is currently meeting with officials in Sacramento to discuss their expansion efforts, and San Antonio, Miami, and Minneapolis are all interested in purchasing the final two expansion places as MLS attempts to expand to 24 teams by 2020.


What do you think of this report? Did you expect the stadium proposal to be voted down? Do you see MLS coming to Las Vegas at some point in the future?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. amazing that Lois Tarkanian’s (the swing vote) bank account just got richer…. more than likely somebody is “interested” in that real estate.

  2. Las Vegas was never a good idea to begin with. There’s no fan base and it is too hot there. One fewer city to consider for expansion. I’d say that Minneapolis, Sacramento and San Antonio are better choices. Who knows? Maybe even Miami will happen, though I doubt it.

    • “no fan base”

      It’s pretty hard to have a fan base for a team that does not yet exist.

      “too hot there”

      Utter nonsense. See also: Dallas, Houston—even San Antonio and Miami, which you kept on your list, regularly score hotter than Las Vegas on the heat index.

  3. The real reason why MLS doesn’t want promotion/relegation is because they want to pit one city against another to get tax payers to build them new stadiums every 20 years. This is one of the reasons why I will never respect MLS.

  4. There is zero chance that MLS has pro/rel. EVER. I am going to go out on a limb and say that people are still whining about it on my deathbed 25 years from now.

    Whoa, now that I am out there, this isn’t a limb, it is like the tree trunk of a Redwood.

  5. The truth about MLS expansion is that MLS needs Vegas and Miami for world exposure and growth of the league. It’s also just a matter of time a team from MLB, NHL,NBA heads to Vegas and puts their foot all over Vegas before soccer.
    If it was some rich person asking for an mlb or nfl stadium, Vegas would of easily said yes but is MLS and soccer gets no soccer in the US.
    Another very important fact, MLS is becoming NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL best enemie, due to its growth and expansion and those leagues will do anything to put a stop, and garber needs to enter their territory in order for MLS to become a major league.

    • Before i get bombarded with negative comments, MLS also needs markets like Sacramento and San Antonio but it all depends how many teams MLS is shooting for, and I think MLS should go for 26 to 28 teams and just create a damn MLS 2.

  6. you know what, good. trying to be shady is not a good way to start. this is a disappointing. i’d like MLS to have as many options as possible when making their final decision on 24.

      • no way. i’m just saying for this 24th spot, i’d like MLS to have as many options as possible that are ready to go, without question. with Vegas dropping out, that is one less. sure, they’ll be back but i’m simply talking for this go-around.

        if you ask me, i think MLS needs to just give Sacramento team #24 and then, to prevent people complain about CA having so many teams, MLS should suck it up and give a 25th team to a market out of the Minneapolis/Carolina/Austin/San Antonio crowd. assuming those cities can get something put together that is just as good as what Sacramento has.

        in other words, i don’t want to see MLS not choose Sacramento because they want to cover markets they aren’t already in. if that means going to 25 by 2022, i’m into it.

        if you ask me, i think MLS could be at 25 by 2018 but i’m just working under the assumption MLS sticks to their “24 by 2022” plan.

      • Yea, that’s the catch: MLS sticking to their plan. Not trying to knock them but that’s their m.o. to “evolve” as they go.

  7. St.Louis, Las Vegas, Sacramento, San Antonio or Austin, Minnesota, and Miami…the list goes on and on, and with the “buy-in” fees, rightfully so.

    However, with the potential addition of a healthy amount more of more cities/clubs, I’d really be interested in seeing MLS split into an “MLS A” and “MLS B” (or East/West) and only play within their “conference”, with exception of “playoffs” based on seeding within your own conference. Of course, with this plan of a league splitting into two conferences…it could eventually/conveniently transition into the “R” word…..waaaaaaaaaaay dooooooooooown the road.

    • yeah, i think we’ll see 32 teams split up the same way other American sports are sometime in the future (when? i don’t know). at that point, NASL and USL Pro will fill in the gaps for markets MLS wasn’t able to get settled into, and in the case of USL Pro, it’ll also have reserve teams.

      MLS will become, hopefully, a very strong league in the structure of a typical American sports league. NASL will work as a much stronger version of baseball’s AAA and while it’ll technically be competing with MLS, the fact will remain they are the designated Tier 2 under USSF’s pyramid. the owners that just bought the Strikers are a great example. they want to own a team in the US, but they aren’t interested in the type of investment MLS would require. they are happy to be Tier 2 owners. for USL Pro, it’ll be mixed with reserve teams and stand alone teams like OC Blues. then the 4th tier remains regionally divided (NPSL/PDL/USASA). i think that’s healthy.

      in a way it mimics, without the pro/rel, the German setup. which is Bundesliga —-> 2. Bundesliga —–> 3. Liga —–> bunch of regional 4th divisions. in 3. Liga, it’s made up of reserve squads (that is the highest they can go) in addition to stand alone teams. then their 4th division splits off into 5 regional leagues with 16-20 teams each.

      while i won’t say pro/rel will never happen, i can’t see it ever happening simply because of the sports culture in the US. it is not the same as it is in Europe and i think what’s described above will prove to be successful and familiar with US sport fans.

  8. “A new stadium is a prerequisite..”

    What a load. Seattle, NY CITY, Atlanta.. That standards for entering the league is back to rock bottom based solely on “opportunity” rather than what’s delivered day one. It’s prospecting, and the only one to scale that is Seattle.

    MLS will, as usual, turn a blind eye to their own rules if they think it makes business sense.

    • “MLS will, as usual, turn a blind eye to their own rules if they think it makes business sense.”

      Oh nooo!! a league who wants to be financially sustainable long term… It’s their league, they can allow whoever they want to join.

      • What’s the point of forcing some teams to build stadiums but then not others only because it’s more convenient? If that’s the case, don’t make a rule. It looks far better than ignoring the rule and potentially upsetting other would-be teams/owners.

      • Josh D, here’s the rule:

        “All new expansion team cities must have a new stadium to play in, unless you can convince us that you would be economically viable without a new stadium.”

    • The fact that you mention Seattle, really diminishes anything else you say.

      I and everyone else in Seattle voted for the stadium for the soccer team. Period.
      The Sounders played in the stadium on day one and ever since, with some very minor exceptions. The Seahawks on their day one later that year.

      actually now that I read the rest of your comment, it doesn’t have much to diminish anyway.

  9. Shouldn’t even be a question at this point that no public money should be used for stadiums. Its a loser for municipalities. Welfare for billionaires.

    • I don’t think a modest stadium to house local college, HS, and pro sports is bad. That’s a public good, like a park. The problem is that reasonableness has gone out the window. The pro teams really see it as theirs — and they are empowered to operate the facility — and they are seeing it as a business and thinking about it like a revenue stream — even if the taxpayers buy the bonds to fund much of it. So you spend money for the field but it’s basically a private enterprise and if you went in the park without paying for a ticket they’d arrest you for trespass.

      This end result is not a surprise to me because I thought of Vegas as a cash and carry town and was surprised a taxpayer stadium was even being considered. Vegas will let you spend privately what you want but the house always wins.

      • You made that stupid “cash and carry” comment about Las Vegas before. I’d say it goes towards your ignorance about the town, but that isn’t fair to the word ignorance.

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