The Vegas Vipers are expected to finally have a stadium announcement soon. With a schedule expected to be released today, the news could break in the next few hours. Based on reports from multiple sources, primarily Mike Mitchell the Vipers have long been rumored to play at a dual-use facility, primarily used as a soccer field as of late.
There is rampant speculation based on the fact that they will play at Cashman Field. Cashman had been talked about in the past as a possibility. With a maximum capacity of 12,500 fans, some of that is standing room, the stadium would appear to be a smaller-sized alternative football venue, albeit likely not with the room for long-term growth of the fan base. If 2020 is any indication fans will easily sell out Cashman Field.
What’s more interesting in this particular situation is what rumors say it would have cost the Vipers and the XFL to play in Allegiant Field. The premier stadium in Vegas, Mark Davis attempted to charge a rumored $90,000 per game for a total of $450,000 on the season. When the XFL turned down this arrangement, it is said this angered Davis.
In an attempt to further put pressure on the XFL, rumor has it Davis even went to the extent of trying to sabotage other viable options. Whether or not this is actually true, we will likely never know. The XFL has settled on the path of least resistance, given that Cashman field was a fan of having another team play its home games there.
A Closer Look at Cashman Field
If Cashman is their new home, This will be a return to the roots of football in Las Vegas with the first-ever football game taking place at Cashman back in 1964 when the Raiders played the Oilers. It would have only been fitting if the Vipers opened the season at home against the Roughnecks to pay homage to the NFL’s humble beginnings. Alas, this game will be played at Choctaw Stadium.
While I mentioned that Cashman has a rated maximum capacity of 12,500 what I failed to bring up, was the fact that Cashman has held much over this reported capacity at times. In fact in 1993 before the more recent renovations, the Chicago White Sox played the Chicago Cubs in front of 15,025 fans.
Other Sports at Cashman
Cashman has played host to many teams, and leagues over the years. In the site’s over 70 years of use as a sporting facility it has welcomed boxing matches, football, soccer, baseball, and the rodeo. This stadium has been modified and added on many times to accommodate teams in the past, the XFL will simply be the latest team to do so. With a multi-year lease agreement, it would be fitting if the XFL made some improvements to the stadium to make it more conducive to its long-term future.
Not Without Its Flaws
Beyond the downside that could be the 12,500 capacity, given the potential that the Vipers might have to turn away fans, there are others the XFL has to weigh namely the fact that in 2018 the Minor League Baseball Club known as the 51’s left the stadium for better options due to the state of the facilities. Considered outdated, and out of repair, teams simply opted for other stadiums when faced with repair costs for the stadium that had already been rebuilt once in the early 80s.
With that being said they were not the last team to play there, and the stadium is still used to this day. In 2018, the Las Vegas Lights a start-up soccer franchise in the USL came in and began to use the stadium. In 2019 the team even set about updating the locker rooms and offices. Their ultimate goal was to develop it into a soccer-specific park fit for operation in the Major League of Soccer.
The Vipers won’t be the first team to coexist with the Lights at Cashman. In 2021 a Major League of Rugby team played its home games at Cashman as well. The Legion operated temporarily out of the stadium until relocating back to San Diego in April of 2021. Cashman or rather the land it stands on has been explored as a site of many different businesses, or renovation projects over the years. In August 2022 there were talks about building an estimated $1 billion medical complex at the site.
This ultimately if approached correctly could be a win-win-win situation. With details of the lease agreement not yet public, it’s possible that the agreement could include a joint renovation project in conjunction with the Lights. Something that solidified their future at a stadium they’ve already invested money in, and signed a long-term lease at. With their lease agreement not set to expire until 2032, it’s easy to see this venue likely is very financially friendly to the XFL.
Perhaps there is a scenario where the City of Las Vegas, whose mayor is close to the Light’s ownership group, sees an opportunity to not only improve upon a very old stadium but also cement the future of two more professional sports franchises in the city. The introduction of more outside funding coming from the XFL, could in theory make a renovation project much more feasible for the Lights, especially if they’re intending to pursue public funds to help the matter along. Giving much more ammunition to sell the city on contributing to the renovations if two sports franchises are using the venue, with concerts, and other events to fill the off dates. Suddenly this isn’t just a single-use soccer stadium that’s struggling to have constant events, it’s a multi-use stadium bringing football, soccer, and other non-sporting events.
Vegas is known for non-stop entertainment, anyway, the city can add to that often will give the market they find themselves in. Why wouldn’t they address a stadium that was been on the docket for renovations multiple times over the years? With the proposition, it could become the permanent home to a professional-level football team AND a professional-level soccer team, keeping alive a piece of history akin to Soldier Field, Lambeau Field, or Fenway the legendary sporting experiences of a lifetime come at nostalgic parks like this would be a bonus. Perhaps a partnership is exactly what Cashman field needs for it to carry on life as it nears its 100-year anniversary.
If Cashman were to get the renovations it needs due to this partnership between the Vipers, and Lights, it only further opens the possibilities for future events, teams, and/or sports. Something all sports fans in the area would welcome.