Sam Boyd Stadium

Coordinates: 36°05′10″N 115°01′01″W / 36.086°N 115.017°W / 36.086; -115.017
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sam Boyd Stadium
Silver Bowl
View from southeast in 2005
Sam Boyd Stadium is located in the United States
Sam Boyd Stadium
Sam Boyd Stadium
Location in the United States
Sam Boyd Stadium is located in Nevada
Sam Boyd Stadium
Sam Boyd Stadium
Location in Nevada
Former namesSam Boyd Silver Bowl
Las Vegas Silver Bowl
Las Vegas Stadium
Address7000 East Russell Road
LocationWhitney, Nevada, U.S.
Coordinates36°05′10″N 115°01′01″W / 36.086°N 115.017°W / 36.086; -115.017
OwnerUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas
OperatorUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas
Capacity36,800[1] (expandable to 40,000)
32,000 (1978–1998)
15,000 (1971–1977)
SurfaceSprinturf (2015–present)[2]
Natural grass (Rugby 7s) (2010–2015)
DURAPlay (2003–2015)
Natural grass (1999–2002)
AstroTurf (1971–1998)
Broke ground1970; 54 years ago (1970)
OpenedOctober 23, 1971;
52 years ago
Renovated1999, 2015
Expanded1978, 1999
ClosedDecember 19, 2020;
3 years ago
Construction cost$3.5 million
(2015 renovations: $1.2 million)
ArchitectEllerbe Becket (renovations)
UNLV Rebels (NCAA) (1971–2019)
Las Vegas Quicksilvers (NASL) (1977)
Las Vegas Seagulls (ASL) (1979)
Las Vegas Bowl (NCAA) (1992–2019)
Las Vegas Posse (CFL) (1994)
Las Vegas Outlaws (XFL) (2001)
Las Vegas Locomotives (UFL) (2009–2012)
USA Sevens (WR7S) (2010–2019)

Sam Boyd Stadium (formerly the Las Vegas Silver Bowl) is a football stadium in the western United States, located in Whitney, Nevada, an unincorporated community in the Las Vegas Valley. It honors Sam Boyd (1910–1993), a major figure in the hotel and casino industry in Las Vegas.[4] The stadium consisted of an uncovered horseshoe-shaped single-decked bowl, with temporary seating occasionally erected in the open north end zone. The artificial turf field had a conventional north–south orientation, at an elevation of 1,600 feet (490 m) above sea level.

It was the home field of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebels for 49 seasons, from 1971 through 2019; they moved to the new Allegiant Stadium in 2020. The annual Las Vegas Bowl took place at Sam Boyd in December from 1992 through 2019, and also moved to Allegiant. Sam Boyd was also used for high school football championship games and at times regular-season high school games for Bishop Gorman High School.

A long time stop on the AMA Supercross Championship beginning in 1990, the final race of the season was located at the stadium every year. It also hosted the first 19 editions of the annual Monster Jam World Finals until 2018.

From 2010 to 2019, it hosted the USA Sevens leg of the annual World Rugby Sevens Series in the sevens version of rugby union.[5]

Several teams called the stadium home over the years, including the Las Vegas Quicksilvers of the North American Soccer League, the Las Vegas Posse of the Canadian Football League, the Las Vegas Outlaws of the original XFL and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.


Aerial view, 2014

Built at a cost of $3.5 million, the stadium debuted on October 23, 1971; its dedication game was the following season's opener.[6]

Originally known as Las Vegas Stadium, the name was changed to Las Vegas Silver Bowl in 1978, Sam Boyd Silver Bowl in 1984, and Sam Boyd Stadium on April 26, 1994. The original seating capacity was 15,000 through 1977, raised to 32,000 in 1978, and to 36,800 in 1999.[7] Except from 1999 to 2002, the stadium has had an artificial turf surface.[8] A $1.2 million renovation during the summer of 2015 replaced field turf that had not been changed out in more than a decade and was severely worn from usage. Additionally, two rows totaling 860 seats were removed from the east and west sidelines to widen the field and drop Sam Boyd's capacity to 35,500.[1]

In 2011, UNLV began exploring building a new stadium to replace Sam Boyd Stadium.[9]

In 2017, it was announced that the Oakland Raiders would relocate to Las Vegas, and a new stadium, Allegiant Stadium began construction. The UNLV Rebels joined the Raiders at the new stadium in 2020.[10]

In 2016, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis had physically toured the stadium to assess the stadium as a possible temporary home if the team moved to Las Vegas.[11][12] It was suggested that Sam Boyd Stadium could have served as a temporary home for the Raiders should fan support in Oakland fall to levels that could not reasonably be accommodated at the facility: the Los Angeles Chargers had come to a similar arrangement and played at the Dignity Health Sports Park, a stadium that is smaller than Sam Boyd Stadium, while in 1997, the Tennessee Oilers came to a similar arrangement in Memphis with Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and in Nashville with Vanderbilt Stadium after their new stadium had delays in its construction.

A fall in fan support in Oakland did not occur, and the Raiders later signed a stadium lease for 2018: after looking at their options, a 2019 lease with a 2020 option in Oakland meant Sam Boyd Stadium was not required.[13] In any event, the stadium would have required renovation to meet the NFL's regulations to serve as a temporary home venue: since it would have been abandoned after the construction of Allegiant Stadium was completed, this would have been financially and logistically impractical.[14]

On November 23, 2019, the Rebels defeated San Jose State 38–35 in their last game at the stadium.[15] Four weeks later on December 21, the Washington Huskies defeated the Boise State Broncos 38–7 in the last Las Vegas Bowl held at the stadium.

The last scheduled non-football event of the 2019–2020 academic year was a Monster Jam show (which wasn't the World Finals as it had been moved to Camping World Stadium in 2019) on March 21–22: this event was postponed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and eventually was canceled).[16][17]

A professional development football league called The Spring League held several exhibition games at Sam Boyd Stadium in March 2020. In July 2020, the league announced plans for a four-team fall season (which would make the league's name a misnomer) in October, 2020 with all games being held at Sam Boyd; however, the season was held at the San Antonio Alamodome instead.

Due to scheduling issues with the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium, UNLV moved its September 5, 2020 home game to Sam Boyd Stadium.[18] That game was later canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNLV's contract with Allegiant Stadium effectively prohibits the university from holding events at Sam Boyd Stadium in what is essentially a no-compete clause. In exchange for shutting down the stadium, UNLV receives annual compensation of up to $3.5 million over a 10-year period from the Raiders.

The exact future of the stadium remains up in the air, as UNLV officials are considering selling it, swapping it for a property closer to campus, demolishing it, or remodeling the stadium for secondary or high school use.[19] After the opening of Allegiant Stadium, Sam Boyd Stadium was used for the 2021 UNLV commencement due to social distancing requirements; normally this is held at the Thomas & Mack Center.[20]

College football[edit]

2008 Las Vegas Bowl

From 1992 through 2019, the stadium was the site of the annual Las Vegas Bowl.[21] In the later years of the bowl game at the stadium, the game was very well attended. In 2005, Brigham Young University made its first postseason appearance since 2001 and excited BYU fans over-filled the stadium; the announced attendance was a record 40,053. The following season, BYU returned to the Las Vegas Bowl as a nationally ranked team. Additional seating was arranged at Sam Boyd Stadium for the 2006 game; the resulting attendance of 44,615 was the largest crowd to watch a team sports event in the history of the state of Nevada at that time. In 2007, BYU made its third straight appearance and attendance was 40,712. BYU made its fourth straight appearance 2008, ranked #16 in the nation and faced off against the Arizona Wildcats who made their first bowl appearance since 1998. Arizona won the contest, 31–21; 40,047 attended the game which featured David Hasselhoff singing the national anthem.[22][23]

Sam Boyd Stadium was also the site of all three Western Athletic Conference title football games (1996–1998),[24] and the Las Vegas All-American Classic postseason all-star game (2004–2006).[25]

Due to restrictions set by their local governments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Mexico and San Jose State programs used the stadium as a temporary home field during the late stages of the 2020 season. The Spartans hosted the 2020 Mountain West Conference Football Championship Game against Boise State (which resulted in a 34-20 win for San Jose) in what is currently the stadium's final scheduled event and was announced to the media final sporting event in Sam Boyd Stadium history.[19]

Professional football[edit]

The stadium hosted the Las Vegas Posse of the Canadian Football League in 1994, the Las Vegas Outlaws of the original XFL in 2001 and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League from 2009 to 2011. On November 27, 2009, the Locomotives played the Florida Tuskers in the 2009 UFL Championship Game at Boyd, which the Locos won 20–17 in overtime.[26] Sam Boyd Stadium was originally announced as the host for the 2019 and 2020 Alliance of American Football championship games,[27] but the former was moved to Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas and the league later folded halfway through its 2019 season.[28] The stadium also hosted The Spring League games in 2020.


Following the 1976 season of the North American Soccer League, the San Diego Jaws decided to relocate and become the Las Vegas Quicksilvers. Despite a roster featuring international superstar Eusébio, the Quicksilvers could only manage an 11–15 record and a 5th-place finish in their division. They averaged an attendance of 7,092 per game. When the 1977 season ended, the franchise opted to move back to San Diego after only one year and became the San Diego Sockers. They were followed by the Las Vegas Seagulls, who played in the American Soccer League. They compiled a record of 7–18–3 in their only season in 1979.[29]

In 1999, the stadium hosted the CONCACAF Champions Cup tournament, which determined the continental champion of North and Central America. The stadium also hosted several Major League Soccer preseason exhibition matches.[30] Spanish superclub Real Madrid defeated Mexico's Santos Laguna 2–1 in a friendly match played on a temporary grass pitch in Sam Boyd Stadium in 2012. The paid attendance was 29,152, which made it the highest attended soccer match in Nevada history.[31]

Sam Boyd Stadium hosted the inaugural Leagues Cup final between clubs of Major League Soccer and Liga MX on September 18, 2019.[32] Cruz Azul won the final, defeating UANL 2–1.


Year Winners Result Runners-up Venue Attendance
2019 Cruz Azul Mexico 2–1 Mexico UANL Sam Boyd Stadium, Whitney, Nevada 20,132

USA Sevens rugby[edit]

The stadium hosted the USA Sevens rugby tournament every year from 2010 to 2019. The USA Sevens was the largest rugby tournament in North America, drawing over 60,000 fans in 2012. The tournament brought together over 15 national teams from six continents in rugby sevens as part of the World Rugby Sevens Series. The USA Sevens debuted in 2004 in Los Angeles and moved to San Diego in 2007.[5] A temporary grass pitch was installed for the event each year through 2015.[33] The March 2016 event was played on the artificial surface.

Other events[edit]

In 2010, Sam Boyd Stadium became the host of the Clark County High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, including a 22 feet by 12 feet wall wrap with vintage photos of the inductees that will be displayed in the Southwest concourse of the stadium.[34]

From 1990 until 2019, the final round of the AMA Supercross Championship was held at the venue.[35] The final race at the stadium in 2020 will be the second to final round. Most of the track is located inside the stadium with extensions taken into the area behind the score board. This event also includes the Davey Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout which was first won by Kevin Windham in 1997. From 2011 until 2019, the Monster Energy Cup was held at the venue.[36] Ryan Villopoto won the inaugural 2011 event as did Marvin Musquin in the 2017 event and Eli Tomac in 2018 event.[37] Adam Cianciarulo won the final event at the stadium in 2019.[38]

From 2000 to 2018, Sam Boyd Stadium hosted the Monster Jam World Finals in late March every year; the annual event has changed to rotating venues each year. The venue also hosted the inaugural Monster Jam All-Star Challenge from October 11-12, 2019.

During the 1990s, The Grateful Dead played 14 shows at the stadium.[39] The stadium and grounds hosted the two-day Vegoose music festival from 2005 to 2007.

In April 2018, the Las Vegas Horse Polo Classic was held at the stadium.[40]

In February 2020, five Major League Rugby matches were played at the stadium over 2 weekends.

U2 played at the stadium multiple times, including during their ZooTV Tour on November 12, 1992, for the opening night of Popmart Tour on April 25, 1997 and during the 360º Tour on October 23, 2009 in front of 42,213 fans.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brewer, Ray (July 24, 2015). "Upgrades to Sam Boyd Stadium Include New Turf, Widened Field". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  2. ^ "Sam Boyd Stadium gets $1.2M face-lift". Fox 5 Vegas. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  3. ^ "Sam Boyd Stadium". UNLV Rebels. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  4. ^ "Six gambling businesses named to Forbes' list of 400". Southeast Missourian. (Cape Girardeau). October 10, 1994. p. 8B. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "USA Sevens Signs Letter Of Intent to Bring Tournament to New Venue in 2010" (Press release). USA Sevens, LLC. July 13, 2009. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  6. ^ "Game program: UNLV Rebels vs. Western Illinois Leathernecks". University of Nevada, Las Vegas. University Libraries. September 9, 1972. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  7. ^ "Print Version". Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2007.
  8. ^ "UAC Las Vegas construction project". UAC Nevada Construction Division. October 27, 2008.
  9. ^ Scott, Dylan (2011-01-19). "UNLV acknowledges effort to bring stadium, football to campus - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper". Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  10. ^ Brewer, Ray (October 18, 2016). "Sanchez envisions UNLV football in Power 5 conference, selling out new stadium". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  11. ^ Graziano, Dan (May 27, 2016). "NFL - Oakland Raiders have made progress in move to Las Vegas, owners want facts about stadium". ESPN. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  12. ^ Carplas, Steve (April 1, 2016). "Raiders owner Mark Davis tours UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  13. ^ Gehlken, Michael (March 21, 2019). "Raiders cross finish line for final season in Oakland". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  14. ^ "Sam Boyd Stadium isn't a temporary option for Raiders". 4 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Ex-players watch as UNLV wins Sam Boyd Stadium finale, 38-35". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2019-11-24. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  16. ^ "Sam Boyd Stadium's future in question as UNLV leaves". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2019-11-22. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  17. ^ "Monster Jam |".
  18. ^ "UNLV football will play game at Sam Boyd Stadium in 2020". Las Vegas Sun. April 22, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Sam Boyd Stadium's long farewell nearing end". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2021-09-17.
  20. ^ "What's Become of Sam Boyd Stadium?". Las Vegas Advisor. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  21. ^ "Las Vegas Bowl". Las Vegas Bowl. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  22. ^ "Sam Boyd Stadium". UNLV Rebels. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  23. ^ Silver, Steve (December 20, 2008). "Arizona upsets BYU 31-21". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  24. ^ "Sam Boyd Stadium". Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  25. ^ "Fact Sheet - Las Vegas All American Classic". Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  26. ^ Keefer, Case (November 27, 2009). "Locomotives win inaugural UFL championship in overtime". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  27. ^ Benjamin, Cory (October 23, 2018). "Alliance of American Football will host its first two championship games in Las Vegas". Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  28. ^ "AAF shifts title game from Vegas to Frisco, Texas". ESPN. Associated Press. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  29. ^ "1979 Las Vegas Seagulls". Fun While It Lasted. 15 July 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  30. ^ Carp, Steve (July 13, 1999). "Pro soccer event set for LV". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  31. ^ Bern, Taylor (August 6, 2012). "Analysis: Real Madrid and Santos Laguna put on good show at Sam Boyd". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  32. ^ "Inaugural Leagues Cup final to take place in Las Vegas on September 18".
  33. ^ "IRB Sevens World Series heads for Las Vegas" (Press release). International Rugby Board. July 15, 2009. Archived from the original on February 16, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  34. ^ Brewer, Ray (July 7, 2010). "High school football hall of fame to be housed at Sam Boyd Stadium". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  35. ^ "2015 AMA Supercross media guide" (PDF). Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  36. ^ "3 things to look for at Monster Energy Cup supercross in Las Vegas". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2019-10-18. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  37. ^ Stallo, Chase (October 12, 2016). "Monster Energy Cup Moments". Racer X Online. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  38. ^ "Adam Cianciarulo wins the 2019 Monster Energy Cup". Supercross Live. 2019-10-20. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  39. ^ "Grateful Dead setlists and more". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  40. ^ Jessie, Faith (7 March 2018). "The Sport of Luxury: Professional polo is coming to Las Vegas". KSNV. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  41. ^ "All U2 shows for Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, USA - U2 on tour".
Events and tenants
Preceded by Home of the
UNLV Rebels

Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
Las Vegas Bowl

Succeeded by