NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t kept his opinion on the sidelines when it comes to the possibility of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas. Regardless of Sin City’s legalized sports betting, something the NFL boss has frequently cited as a paramount concern, the league says it simply prefers franchises to remain in their host cities.
Along with the Raiders, the San Diego Chargers are expected to file relocation paperwork in January to join the Rams in Los Angeles. During an owners meeting last week in Texas, Goodell reaffirmed his position on both teams staying in San Diego and Oakland.
“As you know, and we feel strongly, we want to keep our teams where they are,” Goodell was reported as saying. “Relocations are painful and are something we want to avoid at all costs. We’re committed to continuing to work with those communities to finding those solutions and we will do that.”
That said, Goodell admitted neither city had proposed an adequate stadium plan that resolves long-term issues for the clubs and fans. Las Vegas has.
Build It, He Will Come
Las Vegas is positioned to welcome Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis should he request owners’ approval in the New Year. The son of famed football executive Al Davis would need 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners to approve such a plan.
The $1.9 billion stadium proposed near the Vegas Strip has its funding in place thanks to $750 million from Nevada, $650 million from Las Vegas Sands billionaire Sheldon Adelson, and a $500 million commitment from Davis.
“These issues have been going on for an awful long time. The challenges of getting stadiums built is something that we’ve worked very hard on,” Goodell explained. “We have not made great progress in Oakland and San Diego.”
Oakland officials are scrambling to find a way to keep its storied franchise in the Bay Area, but no blueprint has been specifically released and its funding also remains unclear. With just a month to go until Davis can officially file to move, that’s a substantial problem for swaying NFL owners to vote against Las Vegas.
In August, Davis filed to trademark the “Las Vegas Raiders.”
Raiders Playoff Impact
The Chargers have been trying to move for several years now, and the team’s wishes to abandon San Diego have led to falling attendance at Qualcomm Stadium. But in Oakland, enthusiasm for the team is rapid thanks to a surprising 11-3 regular season through week 15, and the Raiders’ first playoff berth since 2002.
It reads like the plot line from “Major League,” the 1989 cult movie classic where fictional Cleveland Indians owner Rachel Phelps is trying to relocate the organization to Miami. But following a successful season, the club remains in Ohio.
Davis is moving forward with Vegas, though a deep run into the NFL Playoffs and potential Super Bowl appearance would likely force the owner to reconsider.