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.
Within the past 10 days Fortress investment group have submitted a proposal to the NFL to build a new stadium in the Oakland area for the Raiders. The proposal includes a new 55,000 seat stadium costing roughly $1.3billion that would be built on the site of the current stadium, Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum.
Fortress Investments have recently just been acquired by Japanese tech conglomerate Soft Bank for $3.3billion, which does cast some shade to the proposal. Even though a spokesperson for the investment group said “[The sale] doesn’t change anything” “Fortress is all in on the Raiders stadium deal” in a statement, you have to question whether this is really a priority for a company going through billion-dollar buyout or whether it will just be swept under the carpet.
The proposal comes on the back of news that Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs have pulled out of potentially financing a new stadium in Las Vegas. The investment group, led by former player Ronnie Lott, showed some interest back in June 2016 of keeping the team based in Oakland, but this is the first news that we have heard since they met with league and Raiders officials back in December of last year.
Executives from the Raiders organisation will present this latest plan to Las Vegas stadium authority board sometime soon, and hopefully this will be the wakeup call that we need to find a new investor for a stadium in Vegas and not Oakland. Raiders executive Marc Badain has apparently told the league that there are two banks ready to loan money for the Las Vegas project but nothing official or any names have broken out yet.
Regardless of where you stand with the move, the owners meeting on the 26th – 29th March in Phoenix is starting to get closer and closer, and it’s about now the nerves start to set in.
The potential move of the Raiders to Las Vegas is a major story in the news this week although sadly nearly all of it is negative. Following Monday’s announcement that Sheldon Adelson would no longer be contributing to the stadium costs, Goldman Sachs have withdrawn their financial support as well. Goldman Sachs has a long-standing business relationship with Adelson and it seems they are unwilling to tarnish this relationship by helping Mark Davis.
This is a significant blow to the Vegas Raiders and one that leaves the entire more in jeopardy. The team would now need to find a new investment bank or take on another partner to replace Adelson. This is the more likely of the two, but with gambling-based restrictions on team owners/partners and the nature of Las Vegas, this could be difficult. As of yet, nobody specific has been named as a possible replacement.
Since this news has broken, the mayor of San Diego reached out to NFL officials saying it would be willing to adopt the Raiders should their move to Las Vegas fall through. San Diego lost the Chargers in January of this year after they declared they would be following the Rams and moving to Los Angeles.
The involvement of San Diego brings into question the real reason why Mark Davis wants to move. If he really wants to just take his team out of Oakland then it is likely he will consider San Diego, purely because they already have a stadium ready and would be significantly cheaper than building a new one. On the other hand, if it is about entering a new market and getting an improved stadium, then Davis should ignore any reach from San Diego. The Chargers moved because San Diego was not a big market for an NFL team, which in turn was showed by no interest from the area to fund refurbishing the stadium.
News is breaking thick and fast about this potential move before the league meeting in January. But one thing is for certain- San Diego Raiders? No thanks.
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.
Dean Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers, called a meeting early this morning to inform the staff of the team that he plans to move the team to Los Angeles for the 2017 season. Committee meetings took place on Wednesday where the Chargers were just not a priority topic, and the league offered no additional money to help with current stadium efforts. Those close to the situation say the meetings were the last possible opportunity to find some solution. Nothing came, so the Chargers are moving on.
It is far from set in stone, as there are still multiple hoops that need to be jumped through before the moving trucks are packed. Spanos has done nothing official yet; he hasn’t informed city officials in Los Angeles or San Diego of his intent to move and has not filled in an official relocation letter. Should Spanos follow through with his plan then the Chargers would need to be out of San Diego by July 1st. Considering a practice facility and office space has already been leased in California by the team, they could be out much earlier than that.
It’s fair to say that the Chargers potential move to Los Angeles has been talked about less than the Raiders move to Las Vegas, but it is still a significant league topic nonetheless. The Rams moved to LA this year and had a horrendous season, so it would be a big news if a team of the Chargers calibre were to make their new home the City of Angels for 2017.