Another major hurdle has been cleared in order to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas when the Nevada oversight committee unanimously agreed to recommend $750million in public funding for the Las Vegas Raiders stadium project. There was plenty of speculation leading up to the meeting on how it would work out, but it’s fair to say more than a few people were surprised it was voted for unanimously, showing the desire to get the Raiders to the city that never sleeps.
$750million isn’t exactly a small amount to raise, but the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee decided that raising hotel tax in the Las Vegas area would go a long way to meeting this target. With a lot of the backing of the project focussed on bringing the Las Vegas community together, it’s understandable why the priority to raise funds for the project would rest on tourists visiting the city. An additional $650million has been committed to the project by Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands, along with $500million from the Raiders themselves.
The next step on this ever winding road is to win over Brian Sandoval, the governor of Nevada. Governor Sandoval will have to call selected lawmakers into session to consider the deal before anything can go any further. No timeline has been set for this session, but people supporting the move want it done as quickly as possible so the move can be presented to league owners in January ahead of a potential team relocation vote.
If the deal is passed by the governor, then it must clear the Nevada state legislature before it can be put to team owners. If this were to happen, then three quarters of NFL owners must vote in favour of the move for it to finally go ahead. With backing from Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, and Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, who are arguably the most respected owners in the league, it would almost be a shock if the team didn’t move should it get to the voting stage
News has just broken that the NHL (national hockey league) has approved an expansion team to move to Las Vegas and become the league’s 31st franchise starting play in 2017-2018. This is huge news for the city that desperately wants a major league sports, and news that could have good and bad effects on the Raiders potential move to the city.
One thing to mention is this is much more complicated than the Raiders potential move. As the Las Vegas team is a new team, and not a current one moving, it completely shakes up the entire league. All teams now go through an ‘expansion draft’ where even players on your roster can be taken off you. Each team must submit a list of exempt players, but everybody else is up for grabs and could easily end up on a new team. Doesn’t sound particularly inviting for the players does it?
This move could be good for the Raiders if the fans really get behind the team and the city goes crazy for the sport. The owner of the new NHL franchise, Bill Foley, has already expressed interest in getting the Raiders to Las Vegas, saying he think they would be great there and not having any worries over clash of fan base. Furthermore, since the team was announced the NHL team has already accepted 14,000 season-ticket deposits and sold out all 44 suites at the rink. This just shows the passion and demand for major league sports teams in Las Vegas, so who’s to say the Raiders wouldn’t be just as popular?
On the other side, if everything goes wrong for this new team then you can almost rule out a move for an NFL franchise, specifically the Raiders. If there are news stories or scandals relating to illegal gambling or players doing other things in Vegas that they shouldn’t be doing, then you will start to see the doubts beginning to emerge. The most important thing to get right is the fans coming to watch the games, and if matches are low on attendance or anything like that the NFL just won’t even consider it.
Either way this looks like a very promising news for the Raiders, and shows some doubters that a move could just happen to a city that wants all the sports it can get its hands on.
Moving one of the NFL’s most storied franchise’s to Vegas is not as easy as many Raiders fans might hope. Even though Mark Davis has pledged $500million to help build a new domed stadium in Las Vegas, with backing from other owners, there are still plenty of potential problems with the move.
The biggest reason the Mark Davis wants to move the team is the state of the team’s current stadium. The Raiders currently share a stadium with the Oakland Athletics, a major league baseball team. For those of you that have tuned in to various Raiders home games you will have noticed the random streaks of mud/dust across the field that is used for baseball games. It looks atrocious and just seems dangerous for the players. Not to mention the stadium first opened in 1966 and is horrendously outdated.
In the past week it has become apparent that an Investment group is trying to build a new stadium for the Raiders in the Oakland area, and is being led by ex-Los Angeles Raider cornerback Ronnie Lott. This group has recently got the backing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who once again seems to be going against the owners and trying to make the league more and more his own little creation. Surely if the owner of a team wants to go he should be allowed to?
More importantly, other owners have backed the move. Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots and arguably the most respected owner in the league, has openly admitted that he supports the move. Kraft outlined that any of the risks associated with Las Vegas 10-15 years ago are no longer risks, paving a way for a potential move. Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, also endorsed the move in a way, saying it has no disfavour with him after outlining the potential entertainment value of a team in Las Vegas.