The raiders are now only a step away from moving to Las Vegas after the Nevada assembly officially approved $750million of public funding for a new stadium. This comes a few weeks after the Nevada oversight committee recommended the public spending in a unanimous vote, and the assembly approved the spending with a surprisingly one-sided vote of 28 in favour and only 13 against.
Still, the whole process can be stopped in its tracks by a governor veto, but that doesn’t look likely to happen as reports indicate there will be a public bill signing coming very soon. If this stage is passed there will be only one final hurdle to negotiate; the NFL owners vote. Of the 32 owners, 24 must vote in favour of the move. This does represent a very high percentage, but one that is not out of the question if some opinions to be believed.
The team could well still stay in California, but at present there is no concrete plan for a new stadium to be built in the area. With no commitment from Oakland to spend public money on a new stadium for the Raiders, its looking ever increasingly like the best move will be to jump ship and move to the city that never sleeps. A reminder sits in the memories of some tax payers in the bay area from the last time the stadium was renovated, as they are still paying off the $180million Coliseum rebuild from the 1990s. So why would they want to contribute more for more uncertainty in the team’s stadium in a few years time?
The destiny of the Raiders is still up in the air, despite all the positive steps regarding the proposed new stadium. All we know is the annual league owners meeting just became a huge focal point for the offseason.
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
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.