National Finals will stay in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS — The National Finals Rodeo is staying in Las Vegas after all.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Las Vegas Events announced Friday that they reached a deal to keep the 10-day event in Las Vegas through 2024.
The agreement stipulates that Las Vegas Events provide an annual $16.5 million purse and guarantee contestants $10,000 each year. Organizers also will provide a season-long sponsorship program, and authorize cost of living increases for both purses and minimum payouts.
"It's a substantial increase," said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events.
Neither side is disclosing the terms of the previous arrangement, but as an example, Christenson said that contestant prize money this year will be $6.3 million and next year, when the new agreement goes into place, it will increase to $10 million.
"Perhaps the best aspect of this agreement is that it benefits every PRCA member — contestants, stock contractors, committees and contract personnel. There is an investment here to advance the PRCA's circuit system and help the sport continue to grow," PRCA board chairman Keith Martin said in a statement.
The PRCA was considering leaving for Florida after 29 years in Nevada, depriving Las Vegas of an event that generates $100 million for the local economy each December — the city's tourism slow season.
"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," said Bill McBeath, chairman of the Las Vegas Events board of trustees.
PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman said the organization had been doing its due diligence by looking at options in other states. He said the new agreement made the sometimes painful process worth it.
Officials in Florida's Osceola County called the decision disappointing, but congratulated themselves on being the first to recognize the value of the competition.
"The other bidders had to catch up with us," county manager Don Fisher said in a statement.