Its been just over two weeks since the Vegas Raiders were announced and already the way we bet on the NFL is changing. For the first time ever Las Vegas spotbooks are now offering odds on the 2017 NFL draft, which markets like when will the first kicker be drafted, how many quarterbacks will be selected in the first round and whether there will be more offensive or defensive players drafted in the first round.
Naturally all the action seems focused on the first round seeing as it is nationally televised and includes all the big-name prospects, rather than the latter few days which seem to drag on (unless you’re a player that’s drafted of course!). It may seem limited in the options available, but this is a huge step forward already.
You still won’t be able to bet on what pick a certain player will be drafted as there are laws and regulations against betting on something that could influence the decision of that pick, but nonetheless the wide array of markets means there should be something for everyone.
This is a strong step in the right direction, and who knows what other markets this will open up for both the games and anything else NFL related once the Raiders do actually move. There are already a significant number of betting markets for the NFL, but there is no doubt this will open up some more down the line.
Suddenly the draft has become even more important for some of us; make sure the Raiders pick the right player and win you some money in the process!
With the annual league meeting just round the corner, it’s time for those of us that want the Vegas Raiders to become a reality to start paying attention to all the NFL news going around. The potential relocation is easily the biggest thing on the agenda for all league owners, and one that has taken a positive turn recently.
The league set the relocation fee for Mark Davis and the Oakland Raiders at $325 million -$375million, per sources. Compared to the $650 million the Rams and Chargers both paid to go to Los Angeles, that’s a complete bargain. It must be said this should be a credit to the league as the relocation fee was one of the major problems the Raiders faced from now until the voting period, but it seems that it may have just sealed the deal.
The fee could suggest that the league really believes that the required 75% of 32 league owners will vote in favour of the move. It also gives owners a hint that the league may finally be backing the move for once, so all around there are positive signs.
There are some questions arising about the change of markets, going from Oakland which is apparently ‘extremely passionate’ about its football and the sixth largest market in the US to Las Vegas, an unknown quantity and the 40th largest market. Moves from San Diego and St Louis already caused quite a stir, and its whether owners want a trend of teams just moving wherever they fancy to continue.
To that I would say how can Oakland be passionate about its football in any shape if local officials have shown no desire to upgrade the current stadium and keep the team? If citizens are passionate there would be a group come forward to put pressure on local officials to do more for the team, of which there have been none. The only challenge came from an ex-player and that didnt seem to materialise at all.
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.
Mark Davis has turned the Raiders around not only on the field of play but also in the eyes of the NFL. By taking the team to Las Vegas he may also be turning his own finances around and lining himself up to become an unexpected billionaire.
Having inherited a controlling interest in the Raiders in 2011 from his father, Al Davis, along with his Mother, Mark took day to day control. Since then there has been much speculation about the apparent lack of finances available to the team with many suggesting that the Davises might sell the team completely. With the team not reaching the playoffs since 2002, a revolving door of average-to-poor coaches and playing staff and a home stadium that really should be condemned, the outlook for Mark and the Raiders was bleak.
Then came the turnaround. General Manager Reggie McKenzie became the architect of a winning team almost out of nowhere. By firing Dennis Allen in favour of Jack del Rio, putting together two good drafts with Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper amongst them, and some smart acquisition in free agency, the team has been rejuvenated.
The master-stroke off the field, though, has been Mark Davis’ handling of the business. First of all he changed the NFLs opinion of the Raiders by repaying a circa $50 million debt owed to the NFL for the sale of personal seat licenses at the Coliseum in Oakland. Secondly, after a while, the NFL has realised Mark isn’t as abrasive as his father. Indeed, luminaries such as the hugely influential Robert Kraft of the Patriots has been quoted as saying “he’s become a good partner of the league”, Also, Commissioner Goodall has been impressed by Mark Davis’ lack of complaint when the league voted against the Raiders return to Los Angeles. Both of which could explain why the NFL seems to be getting behind the move to Vegas.
And there’s the rub. With a winning team and a move to Vegas, the Raiders could become one of the most valuable sports franchises out there.
Jim Irsay, owner and CEO of The Colts told reporters at the NFL Winter Meeting in Texas that he thought that there was “a real want and real enthusiasm from the powers that be to have an NFL team there [Vegas]”. He also added that he thought Las Vegas could support an NFL team and that he saw little or no optimism with respect to a new stadium in Oakland.
At the same meeting Irsay said he would be “surprised” if the San Diego Chargers exercised their option to relocate to Los Angeles before the January 15th, 2017, deadline. Adding that it would be “fruitless” for the league to extend the long-established deadline.