An era came to an end in college football over the weekend, as UNLV played its final home game at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday.
Allegiant Stadium–the upcoming home of UNLV and the relocating Raiders–remains on track for the 2020 NFL and NCAA football seasons, meaning that the 2019 campaign will be the college football program’s last at Sam Boyd Stadium. The facility has been UNLV’s home since 1971 and, leading up to the planning of the new stadium, there had been some calls for the university to land a better football facility. Aging player and fan amenities have been among the flaws noted, along with a remote location that is far from campus and other Las Vegas-area attractions.
Despite some of those flaws, Sam Boyd Stadium will be remembered fondly by many. It has provided revenue opportunities for the university, while featuring solid sight lines and serving as a venue for plenty of non-football events over the years, including large concerts. UNLV closed out its run at the facility on Saturday with a 38-35 victory over San Jose State. More from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
In retrospect, [Darren] Libonati said the intimate stadium with the fabulous sightlines served a much bigger purpose than Brigham Young or Boise State or Southern Utah padding its record at UNLV’s expense.
“It fulfilled the needs of Rebel football and supplied a surplus of revenues for each and every (UNLV) president to disseminate as they deemed fit,” he said of the stadium becoming a cashbox thanks to musical acts such as the Grateful Dead, U2 and the Eagles, as well as motor sports and specialty events.
Las Vegas Events president Pat Christenson, who preceded Libonati as Sam Boyd Stadium director, struck a melancholy chord as the action unfolded down on the field turf.
“It’s just sad that the stadium doesn’t mean more (to people) than it does,” he said before offering his Sam Boyd Stadium souvenir keychain to an inquisitor.
Sam Boyd Stadium has other events lined up on its schedule over the coming months, including December’s Las Vegas Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is also slated to shift to Allegiant Stadium after it is completed.
Image courtesy UNLV Football.