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Raiders, MGM optimistic Allegiant Stadium will be full this season

Updated April 10, 2021 - 2:43 pm

MGM Resorts president and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said Saturday the company is working with Gov. Steve Sisolak to open Allegiant Stadium at full capacity.

“I know this fall we’ll have a full stadium for the Raiders,” Hornbuckle said. “I’m hoping by July Fourth weekend the community is in a place where we can just do what we normally do and have some fun.”

If Allegiant Stadium gets the green light to operate at full capacity by July, the first major event on the stadium’s calendar is a Garth Brooks concert on July 10th. The concert originally was scheduled for February 2020 and sold out the 65,000 seats within 75 minutes.

Raiders president Marc Badain said he shared Hornbuckle’s optimism and said the club will adhere to the recommendations of state leaders.

“We’ll listen to the authorities on that and the medical community,” Badain said. “Obviously, everybody wants to get back to live events both in Las Vegas and around the world.”

That said, Badain and the Raiders are eager to welcome fans to their new home. The exhibition season begins in August. The regular season kicks off the second weekend of September.

“As soon as we get the go-ahead, our plan is to open the place up and pack it and bring people to town and have it be the economic stimulus that everybody thought it was going to be,” Badain said.

Because of the global pandemic, the Raiders’ first season in Las Vegas unfolded in an empty stadium. Raiders owner Mark Davis, not wanting any fans to be shut out of the experience, decided not to allow any fans to attend any of his club’s home games until full capacity was allowed.

UNLV’s football team also plays its home games at Allegiant Stadium and welcomed 2,000 fans to each of its two games. The Rebels are scheduled to play six games at Allegiant Stadium in 2021.

“I think very soon we’ll begin to see the next stage,” Hornbuckle said. “We are all watching, obviously, what happens in the community in terms of infection rates, ultimately what happens in the ICU ward.

“All of that being said, we’re trending in the right direction.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month the league expects that stadiums across the country will be operating at full capacity.

“All of us in the NFL want to see every one of our fans back,” Goodell said. “Football is simply not the same without fans. We expect to have full stadiums in the upcoming season.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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