NFL Memo Clears the Way for Oakland Raiders Las Vegas Move, Team Would Get Billion-Dollar Adelson-Financed Stadium
Posted on: February 2, 2016, 03:09h.
Last updated on: February 2, 2016, 03:20h.
Could the Oakland Raiders soon be trading in cool California skies for some dry desert air?
An internal NFL memo sent by the footbal league to all its franchises last Friday may offer hope to those who long to see the major sports team make Las Vegas its home.
The Oakland Raiders are in need of a new venue and Sheldon Adelson believes he can provide it in the form of a $1 billion, 65,000-seat stadium proposed for land owned by UNLV. The stadium would also become the new home of the Las Vegas-based college’s football team.
Commentators who wondered whether the NFL’s strict anti-sports betting position would hamper Sin City’s chances with the NFL can rest assured that at least that potential barrier has been lifted, opening the door to more solid negotiations.
The internal NFL memo, first seen by the Los Angeles Daily News, instructs franchises on how to respond to press enquiries regarding the Las Vegas Raiders proposal.
“There is no prohibition under league rules on a team moving to any particular city,” runs the official NFL line. “Any proposal for relocation would be evaluated based on the same standards as apply to any proposed move. Those standards are well known, having just been applied in connection with relocation proposals to Los Angeles.”
The memo also reminds franchises that “all decisions regarding the location of teams are made by the full membership” and that “three-fourths of the member clubs must approve any team move.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis met Sheldon Adelson on Friday, just hours before the memo was circulated, and also toured the proposed site, a 42-acre plot north of the city’s McCarran International airport.
Davis, who inherited the team from his father in 2011, will lose the lease on the O.co Coliseum in Oakland next month. He had been hoping to move the Raiders to Los Angeles, but lost out to Stan Kroenke, who won the right to move the Rams back to the West Coast instead.
Wynn Interested in Investment
The stadium was proposed only on Thursday by a group led by Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), and the casino mogul and recent media magnate has said he will put up “the lion’s share” of the costs, which would be a combination of private and public funds.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (which Adelson now owns), fellow gaming kingpin Steve Wynn has expressed an interest in buying a stake as well.
Besides negotiating an extension to his lease of the O.co Coliseum, Davis has also been in communication with San Antonio officials about a short-term move to South Texas, and the Alamodome.
Meanwhile, LVS insists that regardless of the outcome with the Raiders and the NFL, the expensive new stadium will be built in Las Vegas.
“We are moving forward with the stadium concept with or without an NFL team,” Sands senior vice president of government relations Andy Abboud told the Review-Journal.
“We see a lot more opportunities: conference championships, bowl games, NFL exhibition football, boxing, soccer, neutral site games, and music festivals. There is an entire segment out there.”