A football game between UNLV and Nevada will take the place of a Garth Brooks concert and a Raiders home opener as the public opening of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Saturday’s game is sold out, though the crowd is limited to fewer than 2,000 fans due to restrictions on attendance in place by state and local officials.
The gleaming new stadium was originally going to open at full capacity with a concert by Garth Brooks in August, which was postponed by the coronavirus. Then plans for the Raiders opening their new home were derailed by ownership’s decision to call off in-person attendance for the entire year rather than renegotiate plans with PSL-holders based on reduced capacity.
So, the local college football outfits will get to serve as a sort of dress-rehearsal for the new building, which has already seen three raiders home games without fans in attendance at Allegiant Stadium, which completed construction over the summer.
“This is a big deal for the community, this is a big deal for the two cities, this is a big deal for the university, the alumni,” UNLV first-year coach Marcus Arroyo said.
Normally, Allegiant Stadium can seat 65,000 for football, but it has only received approval for 2,000 spectators – approximately 3 percent capacity, for the first two UNLV home games. The team must resubmit a request for approval for the remaining two home games of the season.
Attendance restrictions have cost Las Vegas some high profile events this fall, with the PBR World Finals and World Finals Rodeo both relocating to Texas to allow for fan attendance. It was only in September that Nevada governor Steve Sisolak raised the cap on live event attendance from 50 to a sliding scale depending on venue size.