Oakland Raiders Should Thank Cowboys’ Jerry Jones For Las Vegas Stadium Suite Demand

Jerry Jones’ is the secret sauce behind Las Vegas Stadium Suite sales and Super Bowl-ready stadium. Got that?

It’s all over Las Vegas that the Las Vegas Stadium’s Clark County Stadium Hotel Tax is short of the revenue that was said would be enough to cover the $645 million bond debt, and the $750 million total subsidy to the Oakland Raiders for the $2 billion stadium. But what’s not celebrated at all, let alone publicly known, is that the Raiders scored just over $284 million in sales of luxury suites and personal seat licenses – and that Jerry Jones is responsible for that.

Considering the Oakland Raiders were contractually obligated to come up with $250 million in PSLs, and that many people were skeptical they could sell even $200 million (including this blogger), that the sales topped $284 million (and climbing) should be the focus of a water-dance at The Bellagio Fountain. Dallas Cowboys’ Owner Jerry Jones and his Legends Hospitality marketing company are the “owner’s representative” for the Raiders, as it true for the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Atlanta Falcons.

Legends sells the suites and sponsorships for those NFL teams and new stadiums, and in the case of the Raiders’ Jones added his personal touch of a one-of-a-kind, free-wheeling, get you thinking while you’re laughing speech. I had the singular pleasure of hearing this presentation while in Las Vegas for my 10th year covering the Consumer Electronic Show (CES).

The party at the Skyfall Lounge was as I described it on January 9th:

The party was for potential sponsors and season ticket and luxury suite buyers. The room was mostly populated by the team of people who work for the Las Vegas Raiders in related capacities to those persons who were invited. Only a small bit of Oakland Raiders or Raiders-affiliated people were there: Davis, Raiders President Marc Badain, Howie Long, and myself: the rest were Las Vegas Raiders people. But it was Jerry Jones who just plain lit up the party with his stories and tales and frequent use of colorful language. Jones said that in relocating the Raiders to Las Vegas, Mark Davis surpassed his father Al Davis. “You did something your Daddy couldn’t do,” said Jones. For his part, Davis did not mention where the team would play or the lawsuit. But he said repeat that they tried in Oakland and couldn’t get it done. Davis then turned to the advantages of Las Vegas when he said, pointing to the brightly lit skyline below, “What you get here is activation, activation, activation,” referring to the many sponsorship opportunities and image partnerships Las Vegas business offers.

Jones talked for 30 minutes of the 45 minutes, with Davis sprinkling in his take here and there, and Howie Long doing the MC-ing. But what I love about Jerry Jones is he’s a salesperson: he’s interested in selling you on his idea. He doesn’t pick personal fights, unlike Mark Davis with the Raiders tends to do – nor does Jones get too involved with details best left to assistants. Jerry talks to you like he’s trying to make his last buck before rent’s due – and he’ll tell you that. Mark Davis could learn a lot from Jerry Jones. Indeed, many people in business can. I’m surprised Jones’ isn’t on Shark Tank.

Representatives with Cox and Wingstop were in that party, that evening – I was socializing with them. Cox eventually bought a founding partner sponsorship, but not because of me – it was Jerry.

Can Jerry Jones Raise $1 Billion In Sponsorships For Las Vegas Stadium?

According to my spreadsheet calculations, the Raiders need to raise at least $600 million in sponsorships, and ideally $1 Billion in sponsorships for Las Vegas Stadium – and for the most part to pay back Bank of America’s $600 million credit facility, plus interest. Right now, only three “founding partner” sponsorships have been secured, whereas eight “founding partner” sponsorships were landed for Atlanta Falcon’s stadium when it was over a year and a half before completion. The Raiders are behind.

On top of that, there’s every indication that the stadium will not be ready to start the 2020 NFL Season, and while there’s news of adding 20 suites so Las Vegas Stadium can better handle it’s expected role of Super Bowl host venue, the added cost of $40 million masks other cost-overruns problems and a recent $278 million mechanics lien.

But even with those problems, and other’s, Jerry Jones’ involvement in raising money gives the Oakland Raiders a great chance at success in Las Vegas. Don’t bet against him. And who know’s what players Jones may bring into the Las Vegas Stadium picture. I recall him telling me he believed Las Vegas Sands Founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson would make a great NFL team owner.

Stay tuned.

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