This is an immediate win for an unlikely player: the UNLV Rebels. UNLV now also gets to benefit from the new stadium that the city will build to house the Raiders, and the new facilities would be big for them as well.
In statements put out by the school’s president, AD, and head football coach, they each reference the new stadium in a less-than-subtle way.
"UNLV and the entire Rebel family welcome the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas,” president Len Jessup said. “We look forward to a long-term partnership with the Raiders and the Stadium Authority Board to give UNLV football access to a world-class stadium and accompanying game day experience that will rival the best in college football.”
Head coach Tony Sanchez mentioned the recruiting benefits that could come with a shiny, NFL-sized stadium.
Barring the unforeseen, they’ll get to move into this stadium when it’s finished in 2020. There was a backup plan in place for UNLV to get a stadium built for themselves should the Raiders fail in their bid to move to Las Vegas, but now that it’s in place, the $750 million of public funding pledged to the Raiders’ future home will also benefit the other football team in town, which plays in a stadium that was built in 1971.
Public funding for stadiums is an understandably touchy subject, but it was the way UNLV was going to get a stadium one way or the other. If not for the Raiders option, the Rebels would have used a mix of private and public funding that would have offered them $200 million taxpayer dollars.
The stadium they’ll likely share with the Raiders looks like this.
And this stadium will be just one of the facilities upgrades for UNLV. They’re also trying to build a football facility but still lack the funding to do so. When it’s done, it’ll look like this and take about 10 months to build.
So the Rebels will quickly upgrade facilities and get to join the likes of Colorado State, which will soon have its own new stadium finished, in the Mountain West stadium arms race.