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Vegas doing it big: UNLV’s stadium plans look like “JerryWorld” in the desert

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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(UNLV.edu)

UNLV might be going from one of the worst stadium setups in college football to perhaps the best, and that includes a lot of palaces for the sport.

UNLV's stadium proposal includes a 100-yard long video screen (take that, Jerry Jones and your puny 80-yard screen at Cowboys Stadium!) and could run a rumored $800 million, according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun. UNLV's stadium won't have any history when it's built, like some of the other famous stadiums in college football, but it'll be hard to match the glitz of it. It will be a stadium fitting of Las Vegas.

There will be two clubs, six 300-seat VIP suites and 50 conventional suites in the stadium that is dubbed "UNLV Now" and has Majestic Realty as a partner, the newspaper reported. An update of the stadium proposal was given to Nevada higher education leaders last Friday.

"When Vegas puts on a show, people expect something amazing," Silverton resort president and Majestic Realty’s project representative to UNLV Now Craig Cavileer told the paper. "People are going to expect an over-the-top facility. (UNLV Now) should be phenomenal and iconic."

This stadium, not surprisingly, isn't being built solely for just a Mountain West program that hasn't had a winning record since 2000 and has never been as high of a priority at the school as the famous basketball program. The hope is that other major events make it a money-making venture.

[Also: Johnny Manziel gets last laugh in recently posted tweet]

While this seems like a possible Hail Mary for a Super Bowl - which would be glorious in the world's best city for conventions, even though the NFL would never want to bring its premier event to a city that promotes (gasp!) gambling - the minimum capacity for a Super Bowl is 70,000. So that seems to be out, but the story mentioned other events such as a Mountain West Conference Championship Game, a new bowl game, a NFL exhibition game as well as big fights and concerts. It will be interesting to see if Las Vegas would ever be in play for a part of the new college football playoff, which seems like a natural in a city that handles big crowds well with a stadium that is patterned in many ways after the luxurious Cowboys Stadium, known affectionately as "JerryWorld."

Obviously if the stadium gets built - and with such expensive tastes that can't be considered a done deal - it would be an enormous boost for UNLV football. Recruiting would be a lot easier than it is now when coaches show prospects the plain stadium that is off the beaten path in Las Vegas, many miles from campus.

And it will be odd that the stadium that might produce the biggest "Wow!" factor in college football hosts a program that barely registers in the sport right now. Vegas, baby.

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