The Oakland Raiders could soon become known as the Las Vegas Raiders should owner Mark Davis live up to his word that he’s ready to move the NFL franchise to Sin City.
Davis is in Las Vegas today for the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee’s (SNTIC) meeting to discuss the feasibility of building a $1.4 billion football stadium on a currently unoccupied 42-acre parcel of land just steps from McCarran International Airport.
According to various reports, Davis is prepared to commit his organization to Las Vegas if SNTIC is willing to help fund the project with hotel occupancy revenues. Davis, along with Las Vegas Sands billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Majestic Realty, proposed private funding totaling $650 million with the rest of the construction being fulfilled from public programs.
Davis said he would be personally responsible for $500 million.
“It’s huge,” a source told the Los Angeles Daily News of Davis’ commitment. “If the committee approves the funding, there will be no stopping the train.”
Viva Las Raiders
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has maintained a stance that if Davis truly wished to move the Raiders to Vegas and had the required 75 percent support of the NFL’s other 32 teams, or 24 endorsements, he wouldn’t block the relocation.
The Big Four professional sports leagues, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL, have long opposed traditional sports betting and subsequently any franchise calling Las Vegas home. Daily fantasy sports (DFS) has fueled a new conversation on the matter and perhaps softened some individual stances on sports gambling.
Goodell finally opened up about the possibility of his league having a team playing games just steps from the famed Vegas Strip.
“Ultimately that is a decision of the ownership,” Goodell said on the Fox Sports Radio program “The Herd” on Wednesday. “There are owners who will feel very strongly about continuing to support our position on gambling, there will be owners that will have the view of whether that’s the best market for us to be in, whether there’s truly the fan support there, they’ll look at obviously the stadium alternatives, and I think that’s what you do in any relocation.”
Silver and Black
Appearing before SNTIC, Davis said Thursday that he wants to turn the Silver State into the “black and silver state,” referencing the colors of the Raiders.
Flanked by soccer legend David Beckham (who advocated the stadium could host soccer matches) and representatives of Sands and Majestic Realty, Davis made his case to the committee that his intentions are sincere, and he isn’t simply using Las Vegas as leverage to gain funding from Oakland officials in order to entice him to stay.
Oakland doesn’t seem too gung-ho on keeping the Raiders.
The storied franchise’s stadium, which is owned by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, is in need of desperate repair. The city has been reluctant to spend the money and seems to favor building a new baseball-only venue.
Back in Las Vegas, SNTIC members certainly do not have an easy decision to make.
MGM Resorts is advocating for hotel taxes to fund the renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center instead of being used to build a football stadium. MGM owns 50 percent of the recently opened T-Mobile Arena, a $375 million multipurpose facility that could lose headlining concerts to the larger football stadium should it be constructed.