NFL To Raiders: Viva Las Vegas!
The Oakland Raiders will soon be living it up in Las Vegas. In a nearly unanimous vote of 31-1, NFL owners approved the Oakland Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas on Monday, SBNation reports. The vote concludes a months-long back-and-forth between Oakland officials, Raiders owner Mark Davis and Nevada officials.
"The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA," Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. "We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff ... We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
Related Cos.' Stephen Ross, co-owner of the Miami Dolphins, cast the only vote against the move. Following Monday’s vote, the Raiders will remain in Oakland for the next two seasons and will move to a temporary home in Las Vegas in 2019. The new stadium is expected to be ready in 2020. The Raiders' move to Vegas follows on the heels of the Rams and Chargers moving to Los Angeles. The Rams and Chargers will occupy a shared stadium in 2019.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf continued to push the city’s plan to build a new stadium just south of the Coliseum even though the plan was met with criticism by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Among the sticking points was how the A’s would share the Coliseum with the Raiders until the new football stadium was completed. She said Oakland would not choose between the A’s and the Raiders, KTVU reports.
Davis wanted to boot out the baseball team if a new stadium was be built. The A’s have been open to moving to a new Oakland site, but have yet to finalize plans, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Schaaf said she believes the $1.3B proposal backed by Fortress Investment Group was a superior proposal to the plan to move to Las Vegas, according to KTVU. The 55,000-seat Coliseum plan would be in a proven location within a stronger market, she said. Davis never provided input to this deal.
Oakland and Alameda County will still be on the hook to pay off $95M in unresolved debt from the 1990s renovations done during the Raiders’ last move to Oakland. Taxpayers are paying about $20M a year.
The plan to move to Vegas appeared to be in jeopardy soon after the Raiders filed an application to move to Las Vegas in January. Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs pulled out of the deal weeks later. Adelson had originally committed $650M toward the construction of the $1.9B, 65,000-seat stadium. In early March, Bank of America said it would provide a $650M construction loan, but would not hold an equity stake in the team or stadium.
Another $750M of financing for the Las Vegas stadium will come from a new hotel room tax approved by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval in November.