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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Allegiant Stadium – UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Allegiant Stadium 3333 Al Davis Way Paradise, NV 89118

Year Opened: 2020

Capacity: 65,000


Rebels And Roulette Wheels

The University of Nevada at Las Vegas (we will use UNLV for brevity) is a relatively young academic institution, as it was founded in 1957. It has an enrollment of 31,142 students with more than 200 undergraduate degree programs to choose from. The UNLV campus is located 2 miles east of the Las Vegas strip. If you have a chance to visit the campus while you are in town, it has a fascinating set of desert flora and fauna that is unlike any other campus you may have seen.

The athletics programs at UNLV are much younger than the academic side of the school. UNLV has only fielded a football team since 1968 and joined the Division I level of the NCAA in 1978. The team plays in the Mountain West Conference. Until October 31, 2020, the Rebels played their home football games at the on-campus Sam Boyd Stadium. UNLV played its first game in the brand-new Allegiant Stadium on Halloween night of 2020, losing to their archrival, the University of Nevada, Reno. The attendance at this and all games during the 2020 season was restricted to just a fraction of the stadium’s capacity due to the pandemic.

Allegiant Stadium has a capacity of 65,000 for football. It is outfitted with 127 suites for Vegas high rollers and 8,000 club seats. It also provides a cool place to watch a game as temperatures can exceed 100 degrees in Las Vegas well into the fall. Allegiant Stadium is covered with a transparent EFTE roof, which keeps the stadium at very comfortable temperatures. UNLV plays on a synthetic turf field, while the Las Vegas Raiders play on natural turf, as their late owner Al Davis was old school and believed football deserved grass stains and dirt (mixed in with a little blood in the Raiders mentality!) The natural turf is stored outside of the stadium where it can get sun and be watered and will only be brought inside on Raider game days. This is done on a retractable tray type of pulley system that can be rolled in and out of the building.

UNLV sports teams are known as the Rebels. This name was chosen to represent Las Vegas. It is a town that is unconventional and celebrates its independence while playing by its own rules. In other words, it is a James Dean-type of a rebel than the Civil War version. (Nevada was only a territory when the Civil War occurred.)

Food & Beverage 4

As one of the few colleges to share a home field with an NFL team, UNLV has an above average choice of concessions for their home games. For your typical stadium fare head to the Nation’s Tailgate Favorites locations. Allegiant Stadium also features food and beverage from Las Vegas’ top restaurants. Hot dog and burger lovers can choose from Neon Dogs and Holsteins Shakes and Buns or Fukuburgers. Pizza is available at Pizza Rock, Evel Pie and Pizza Squared. South of the border selections include Viva Las Noches, along with BBQ Mexicana and Mexican Specialties. Other stands include Rollin’ Smoke BBQ AND Graffico Bao Chinese.

Adult beverages are available at the Modelo Cantina Club, Casamingos Tequila Lounge, Area 41 or the Blue Moon Brewing Company. It is one of the few NCAA football venues to allow alcohol sales at games since it is not located on campus.

Atmosphere 4

This review took place during the first year fans were allowed to come to games with no attendance restrictions, so the crowds were big and boisterous. There were plenty of fans wearing the red and silver of the Rebels, but even more, sported the colors of the visiting team. UNLV only utilizes the lower bowl of the stadium for its games, resulting in a capacity of 30,000.

We also noticed that much of the crowd at the game was there to check out Allegiant Stadium itself. The concourses stayed busy throughout the game, as people were checking out the various food vendors, studying the exhibit on the Raiders Hall of Fame or having their photo taken on the upper deck where the Al Davis Memorial Flame and window looking out over the strip are located.

This made it difficult to determine whether the game or the new stadium was the main draw for people. We also attended a Raiders game and noted that the attention of the fans was much more directed to the action on the field, rather than the amenities the stadium offered.

Either way, the venue is a spectacular building to experience. It offers fans so many new options in the way they enjoy a game. We found the same to be true when the Vegas Golden Knights had their debut in the NHL… the production values before the game, during the intermissions, and after the game was just as entertaining as the game itself.

Neighborhood 5

The new home of the UNLV Rebels football team is located at the southern end of the Las Vegas strip, just across I-15 (Frank Sinatra Drive) from the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It is within easy walking distance of all the casinos, hotels, attractions, and entertainment venues that Las Vegas is famous for. Worried about walking at night? The city and the crowds are heaviest and liveliest at night… this is the city that never sleeps!

In general, you can count the entire Vegas Strip as the neighborhood for the Allegiant Stadium. The closest casinos to the stadium are the Luxor and Mandalay Bay, but the Las Vegas Monorail makes it very easy to reach a majority of the casinos located north of Allegiant Stadium as well.

Fans 3

The UNLV fanbase is small but supportive. There are many reasons why this is the case. First of all, UNLV has a very large academic program training students for the hospitality industry. This means that current students (and graduates) are very likely at work when the games are going on Saturdays. Also, the sport’s history at UNLV has revolved primarily around the basketball program, hearkening back to the days when Jerry Tarkanian was the coach. Often times a visiting team will bring more fans with it to a game, as the draw of a weekend in Vegas can often cause fans from the Mountain West to travel when they typically do not go to away games.

Access 5

Allegiant Stadium is just a couple of miles from the Rebel’s former home at Sam Boyd Stadium. It is easily accessible from virtually anywhere in Las Vegas, as it is just across I-15 from the world-famous Las Vegas strip with all its casinos and entertainment venues. It is also just 4 miles from the city’s McCarran International Airport.

Fans driving to the games will also find the stadium to get to via I-15.

Most visitors to Las Vegas find it is much cheaper to use a taxi or shared ride service to get around as parking rates at hotels in town are ridiculously high and you will only be traveling a short distance to get anywhere in town.

Return on Investment 3

Individual game tickets come at several price points. The lowest tickets are available in the high-end zone seats at $33, low-end zone seats are priced at $38. The corner seats are priced at $49 and $60 respectively. Priority seats on the sides run between $82 and $137. There is really no reason to rent a car and have to pay for parking at Allegiant Stadium, as shuttle busses will run up and down the strip on game days to deliver you to the stadium. The concession prices, like everything else in Vegas, tend to run on the high side. If you are coming specifically for the game, look for hotels located a few blocks off the strip. They do not charge the resort taxes and premium rates that are found in the hotels with large casinos and big-name entertainment.

Extras 4

As you would expect in Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium offers a top-of-the-line electronics package. This includes ribbon boards down the facing of the upper decks and a pair of videoboards at each end of the field that measures 11,000 square feet each.

Some of the famous players in UNLV football history include QB Randall Cunningham, Running Back Ickey Woods, and Kenny Mayne… a UNLV QB and ESPN sports anchor.

Allegiant Stadium also serves as the home of the Las Vegas Raiders, the Pac 12 Championship Game, and the Las Vegas Bowl. It will also serve as the home for concerts featuring Las Vegas’s top performers.

Stadium officials plan to bid on major events, including the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the World Cup. They also hope to land an MLS soccer franchise to the city.

We have more extras we could tell you about, but as you know… what happens in Vegas…stays in Vegas!

Final Thoughts

Any trip to Las Vegas for a football game is going to be different from visiting a college campus. There is so much quality entertainment available at the various hotels/casinos that you really need to make a weekend of it. The new Allegiant Stadium is one of the premier college venues in the country and you can enjoy the game in air-conditioned comfort. You can expect many football kickoff weekends, bowl games, and even an NCAA Football Championship game in its future!

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