Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dear Lorenzo

(Blogger's note: Alan Snel will always be a bicycle guy and this blog will be devoted to the love of bicycling. But he made a living covering stadium subsidy and finance stories in several newspaper markets around the country, including Las Vegas. And with Las Vegas multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson asking his community to contribute $750 million in public money toward building a football stadium, Snel will occasionally write a blog post here on this highly-controversial and politically-volatile topic. Here is the first one,)

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Dear Lorenzo,
Congrats on selling UFC for a tidy sum of $4 billion.

That’s awesome!

I mean, you bought an MMA property for $2 million in 2001 and you unloaded it for $4 BILLION 15 years later.

You made Tony Hsieh’s sale of Zappos to Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion look like chump change.

So, since the Fertitta bank account has a few more zeroes at the end of the numbers now, I have a small request for you that would instantly make you a hero in Las Vegas and pretty much immortalize you in the annals of sports.

Now, we both know that you love Las Vegas and the NFL and that you never thought -- realistically -- that you’d sell UFC for $4 billion. Only three years ago we chatted in an interview and you were happy that UFC was valued at $2 billion at the time.

So, now that UFC sold for $4 billion, how about you do a small favor for the Las Vegas area and stroke a check for $750 million to cover the money that Sheldon Adelson wants the public to fork over for a football stadium?

I know, that’s a lot of dough.

Sheldon says he’s willing to contribute $650 million of his $30 billion personal fortune toward a stadium that he thinks can lure the Oakland Raiders to Sin City.

But you’re the man, Lorenzo.

You, like Sheldon, live in the area and you know the Las Vegas market sure has a lot of public needs that probably outweigh the need for a publicly-subsidized stadium that would soak up $750 million of resources that can go for other public needs like bolstering Las Vegas’ beleaguered education system.

Keep in mind I don’t have a dog in this fight.

I moved from Vegas (where I covered the business of stadiums for the Las Vegas Review-Journal) to Florida for a new writing job earlier this year.

But I lived there long enough to see that Las Vegas is still the entertainment hub of the world -- with or without a publicly-subsidized stadium.

Would a new palatial domed sports palace for 68,000 fans be nice for Las Vegas?

Of course it would.

But at the public expense of $750 million?

You’re a bright guy, Lorenzo, so you know the answer to that question.

So, what do you say Lorenzo?

I know you love the NFL and football. You made Gorman into a national high school football powerhouse and I know you modeled some of UFC’s business features after the National Football League.

I know you want a piece of the NFL.

So, what do you say? Be a hero for Las Vegas while also being the majority owner of the newest, coolest football stadium in the country and you will go down in Vegas history as the man who saved your people $750 million.

Even Sheldon with his bank account couldn’t say that.

Thanks for reading, Lorenzo, and good luck in what I hope will be your future NFL career. .

Yours truly,
Alan Snel.

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