Sheldon Adelson has officially pulled out of his portion of funding for the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium, meaning Mark Davis will need to find an extra $650million from somewhere if the move is still to go ahead.
It seems the Raiders were prepared for this all along though, as the relocation papers that were filed to the NFL on 19th January did not include Adelson’s contribution. Since then, the Raiders have declared they are willing to take on the extra $650million investment themselves (taking their contribution up to $1.15billion) whilst enlisting the help from Goldman Sachs investment bank. Governor Sandoval was quick to assure people that the proportion coming from the public fund will not change following this announcement.
This is a significant development and one that comes with a few questions. Firstly, are Goldman Sachs going to have someone ready to step into Adelson’s shoes and invest straight away? You would have thought so if Davis has turned his back on Adelson, a man who played a pivotal role in the talks getting to where they are now, so easily. Secondly, how are the other owners going to take this significant and questionable change so late in the process? Theoretically the only thing standing in the way of the Vegas Raiders becoming real is the owners vote in March, and who knows to what degree this change will have on their opinions.
This change does mean that the Raiders don’t have to request the team owners to waive a rule prohibiting casino operators from having ownership roles in teams. That is a significant development in itself and probably the biggest hurdle (other than the owners vote) cleared, depending on who the next investor turns out to be.
No doubt there will be more twists and turns along the road to the Vegas Raiders, but it seems Mark Davis is doing everything he can to roll with the punches and get this relocation done.