Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is bullish on the ability of Nevada’s biggest city to attract more big league professional sports franchises.
And she sees Cashman Field as her field of dreams.
When asked on “Nevada Newsmakers” what she would like to do with the city-owned property — now home to the Las Vegas 51s AAA baseball team — Goodman showed just how big her dreams are.
“I’m going to bring in an NBA franchise,” the mayor said last week. “I am going to build a stadium there. I’m also going to bring the MLS (Major League Soccer) in there.
“We’re going to build a beautiful mixed-use high-rise apartment, a mixed-used building. We’re going to put in a gorgeous park.”
Then Goodman got real.
“And if only some billionaire was listening to me and would make all that happen,” she said. “But pieces of it will definitely happen for sure.”
Already, the Vegas Golden Knights are set to begin play in the National Hockey League.
The NFL’s Raiders are expected to play in a new domed stadium in Las Vegas by 2020.
And Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred recently told the Chicago Tribune, “If we were looking at relocation, Las Vegas would be on the list.”
Goodman, however, said a soccer team will be the next sports franchise to plant in Las Vegas. Las Vegas city officials are expected to negotiate with a United Soccer League use Cashman Field along with the 51s. Earlier this year, however, Las Vegas did not apply for a Major League Soccer expansion team before the league’s deadline.
The USL is a second-tier pro soccer league. The MSL is top-tier. In Reno, the AAA baseball Aces now shared Greater Nevada Field with a USL franchise.
“To be frank with you, I think we are on the cusp of having a USL soccer league (team) come in and take over,” Goodman said of Cashman Field.
Goodman thinks the Raiders should build their stadium at Cashman.
“We were hopeful they would locate at Cashman because the infrastructure is already there, the access points,” Goodman said. “We’ve got garage space, we’ll have 40,000 (parking spaces). Once Project Neon (the 3.7-mile widening of Interstate 15) is finished, we’ll have seven access points coming off the 95 and the I-15. Plus, light rail is going to be coming from the airport, past UNLV, straight to downtown and Cashman.”
Goodman warned that the Raiders’ preferred domed-stadium site — just northwest of Interstate-15 and Russell Road — would force costs to balloon beyond the stadium’s projected $1.9 billion price tag.
“There has been no talk about the improvements off the campus of the Raiders stadium,” Goodman said. “We’ve got to do flyovers there. We’ve got to have (freeway) access. There is nothing there, there right now. Somebody has got to pick up that bill — beyond the ($750 million in) room tax — and that has not been discussed yet.
“And when that happens, they are going to say, ‘Oh my gosh, why didn’t we locate at Cashman where all the infrastructure is in?’” Goodman said.
Access costs for the Nevada Department of Transportation for the Raiders’ Russell Road site will take funding away from other needed NDOT projects, Goodman said.
“That’s NDOT, and they are going to have to take from projects that are for other parts of the community,” Goodman said. “They are going to have to re-prioritize, which is bad. And then, there is still (the question), how do you get (fans) there?
“You’ve got to have the monorail and to go from the MGM to the Mandalay, it is $600 million,” Goodman said. “Who is going to pay for that? There is so much out there that is not covered (by current funding for Raiders stadium) and somebody has to pay for it. They’ve got to find the dollars.”
Ray Hagar is a journalist for “Nevada Newsmakers.” More information on the public affairs broadcast program, podcast and website is available nevadanewsmakers.com