Sam Boyd Stadium opened in 1971 as the Las Vegas Silver Bowl and was primarily used as the home field for UNLV’s Runnin’ Rebels football team. However, many other national sports made annual visits to Whitney, Nevada including Monster Energy Supercross, who historically held its final round of the season at the venue.
For 19 years, Sam Boyd Stadium hosted our biggest event of the year, Monster Jam World Finals. Then in 2019, World Finals moved to Orlando, followed by a trip to Nashville, with the event being hosted this year at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. Just like the Super Bowl, World Finals has begun rotating host cities so that fans from all over the country can be closer to witnessing history at Monster Jam’s premier event! However, there are still fans wondering why Monster Jam left the Las Vegas stadium in the first place. Let’s examine that…
On March 27th, of 2016 the National Football League approved the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas and in September of the following year construction began on Allegiant Stadium, which would mark the beginning of the end for events at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Allegiant Stadium era would officially begin when the Raiders hosted the Saints on Monday Night Football on September 21st, 2020, and the UNLV Football team would move into its new home that October officially ending their 49-year reign at Sam Boyd Stadium.
As a part of the agreement between UNLV and Allegiant Stadium, events are prohibited from being held at Sam Boyd for a 10-year period and in return the university also receives annual compensation of $3.5 million from the Raiders, which ironically was how much it cost to build their former home back in 1970.
So, for those of you wondering why there are no more Monster Jam events at the historic Vegas stadium – the Raiders pay a lot of money to essentially keep those doors locked.
In another bit of irony, the final “non-football” event at Sam Boyd was scheduled to be Monster Jam, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Does that mean the stadium will never reopen?
Never say never. With its future undecided, UNLV officials are considering selling the building and property outright, demolishing it, or remodeling it for secondary use. Regardless of what happens in the future, Sam Boyd Stadium will always hold a special place in the hearts of Monster Jam fans, drivers, and employees and our history will forever remain tied to that sacred dirt in the Las Vegas desert.
I will have more on the legacy and possible future of Sam Boyd Stadium on an episode of Inside Monster Jam Powered By Lucas Oil in the coming months so stay tuned.