Las Vegas Raiders Nation… hahaha, not so fast, but just maybe, a teeny-weenie little-bitty maybe. By now you’ve all heard the hype about the NFL Raiders possibly relocating to Sin City Las Vegas. If you haven’t, then maybe you’ve been hiding under a rock, or you’ve fallen deep into a “Black Hole”, pun intended.
The Raiders currently play home games at Oakland Alameda Coliseum, one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL. The outdated stadium is ranked near the bottom in the league. It is the only stadium left that a NFL team & MLB team still share. The Raiders ownership has been trying to get a brand new stadium for years, since the 80’s really, when they returned to the Bay Area relocating from Los Angeles. And, so far they’ve been unsuccessful as talks with city & county officials from Oakland/Alameda just fade away, time after time.
When the NFL Rams relocated to Los Angeles in January 2016 from St Louis returning to their former Southern California home after a 21 year hiatus it set a money-making modern day precedence within the NFL. The Raiders, along with the San Diego Chargers were also involved with Los Angeles relocation ordeal. The Chargers hold the second option, Raiders third option to move into the new (not yet built) stadium in Inglewood behind the Rams. In the past few months the idea of playing second fiddle has diminished. That has lead Raiders majority owner Mark Davis to search elsewhere for a brand new shiny billion dollar state-of-the-art home.
UNLV officials have always wanted an on-campus football stadium, they secured land ownership purchasing a 42 acre parcel along Tropicana Blvd between the Thomas & Mack and the MGM Grand for $50 million which was provided by The UNLV Foundation — a nonprofit group. Now UNLV is in negotiations with Clark County to possibly swap Sam Boyd Stadium for another 38 acre parcel of land that sits between the original 42 acres purchased and the Thomas & Mack. UNLV established a partnership with Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson & Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty Company to build a 65,000-seat domed stadium on the newly acquired land. Knowing of the Raiders situation, it was decided to entertain owner Mark Davis of the idea on moving into a brand new stadium in Las Vegas.
Mark Davis has visited Las Vegas a hand-full of times since January 2016 talking with the billionaire big boys, Sheldon Adelson, Ed Roski, Steve Wynn, UNLV officials, as well as the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. The committee will meet on June 23 and is expected to recommend the $1.4 billion stadium for UNLV football and the glimmering possibility of the NFL Raiders over an expansion to the convention center.
Although, a favorable recommendation in no way guarantees the stadium project with more hurdles to overcome. Next up would be a special session of the state Legislature, which would need to approve the funding plan for the project, including $750 million in public money from tourism &
entertainment taxes. The remaining money would come from the NFL, the Raiders and Sands Corp & Majestic Realty.
Davis seems down with the plan saying, “Las Vegas is a great location. It would unite Raider Nation instead of being divided between Oakland & Los Angeles.” If all goes smoothly to that point, Davis intends to continue moving forward, “If Las Vegas comes through with their plan, Raiders will be in Las Vegas”, Davis said. Davis would eventually apply for relocation to Las Vegas where he’s given his solid commitment, “he will not go back on his word.”
Feelings and attitude towards Las Vegas’ gambling has changed among NFL team owners. Many are now open to the idea of having a NFL team in Las Vegas. Reason being, money. Like it or not, its the ways of professional sports nowadays. Cha-Ching!
Before getting overly excited (or angry) and jumping on the overzealous hype let’s go over a few facts. There are still many political/business hurdles to overcome as well as two major parts to the process that are still in its infancy stages. 1) Even after a favorable recommendation, it requires approval by the governor and a special session of the Nevada Legislature. 2) The Raiders have been in the mix of several possible moves within the NFL. Carson, CA along with the Chargers, St Louis, MO once Rams moved out, Los Angeles/Inglewood with the now Los Angeles Rams, San Antonio, TX, even briefly mentioned options of Sacramento, CA and moving to Santa Clara sharing with the 49ers. Besides the LA/Inglewood scenario all of it has been talk, maybe to cover all options, maybe strictly as leverage to gain a new stadium in Oakland. Who knows… this is the closes the Raiders have been to getting a new stadium in over 30 years. Maybe Las Vegas is the real deal? We’ll see soon enough.