Vegas Wrangles Rodeo

Yee ha! After weeks of negotiations and number crunching, officials with the National Finals Rodeo have chosen to renew the event’s contract with Las Vegas. The NFR had originally proposed to move to Florida for the next 10 years.

New deal runs through 2024

To the relief of Las Vegas Events, an arm of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, the highly profitable National Finals Rodeo will remain in Las Vegas through 2024. LVE came to terms last week with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the organization that runs the rodeo.

Previously, the PRCA threatened to move to Orlando or Dallas, and even signed a memorandum of understanding with Osceola County, Florida, to relocate the rodeo there. The NFR has been a fixture of the Las Vegas event calendar for the past 29 years.

The 10-day event is routinely described as the Super Bowl of rodeos. In 2013, it sold out the 17,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center for 10 consecutive days and nights at the end of the year. The show generates some $90 million in nongaming revenue to Las Vegas, reported the Las Vegas Sun.

The boards of both Las Vegas Events and the PRCA voted unanimously to accept the new deal, which will guarantee $16.5 million annually in purse and sponsorship for the NFR, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The LVE’s previous offer, rejected by the PRCA in December, was for $11 million.

“Since 1985, more than 1 million visitors have traveled to the world’s premier destination to experience the energy and excitement of two great brands?Las Vegas and NFR,” Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter said in a statement. “This new agreement will ensure NFR and its loyal fans will be back to Las Vegas for another decade of unrivaled experiences.”

According to the terms of the deal, the contestant purse will total $10 million from 2015 through 2019. From 2020 through 2024, cost-of-living increases will be factored in.

PRCA Chairman Keith Martin hailed the new deal in a statement, saying, “There is an investment here to advance the PRCA’s circuit system and help the sport continue to grow.”

The offers from Osceola County and Dallas included a $6.2 million purse for the cowboys in a total package valued at $16 million.

“To Orlando’s and Dallas’s credit, they came forth with some real credible offers,” LVE President Pat Christenson said. “We knew all along that the PRCA wanted to be in Las Vegas. We weren’t sure how far Dallas and Orlando were willing to go, and we came up with an aggressive offer to keep the WNFR here.”

Las Vegas Events Board of Trustees Chairman Bill McBeath stressed the “strong partnership” between Las Vegas and the PRCA and the cowboys. “This new agreement clearly demonstrates the commitment that Las Vegas has to the PRCA, to the overall growth of the sport of rodeo and to the contestants. We feel that the new agreement is beneficial to all parties, and we’re very pleased to continue to host this iconic event for an additional 10 years.”