Nevada Panel Approves Raiders' Public Stadium Funding Plan

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2016

FILE - In this April 28, 2016 file photo, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis, center, meets with Raiders fans after speaking at a meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee in Las Vegas. Proponents of an NFL football stadium in Las Vegas aren't budging on their request for $750 million in hotel tax dollars and don't want to return any profits to the public. An oversight committee could finalize a recommendation for the Legislature next week. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

The Oakland Raiders' potential move to Las Vegas cleared a major hurdle Thursday after a Nevada panel approved $750 million in public funding for a new stadium, according to Nathan O'Neal of KSNV News 3.

The plan will now move on to the governor and state legislature, who would have to sign off on the public funding. Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has been at the center of the push for a Las Vegas stadium, which would open the door for the Raiders to move and become the city's first NFL team.

Raiders owner Mark Davis has been pushing for a Vegas move since losing out on a chance to relocate from Oakland to Los Angeles, per Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"I think everybody wins in this," Davis said, per Youmans. "We still have work to do. We're going to make Las Vegas and Nevada proud."

"The opportunity came up in Las Vegas, and we’re giving it full bore," Davis said in June. "This is not a pawn in a game. We are serious. Right now, I’m focused on Las Vegas. We think it could make a great marriage with Las Vegas and the Raiders.”

The $750 million subsidy would be a record-setting number for an NFL stadium. The plan centers on selling municipal bonds, which would then be paid by a new tax on hotel rooms. Las Vegas is one of the most tourist-heavy locales in the United States.

However, there has been concern about an NFL franchise moving to the city because of its gambling culture. Sports betting is legalized in Las Vegas, and the city's infrastructure has long been built on the casino industry. Major professional sports leagues have shied away in the past because of those implications and concerns over whether a tourist-heavy environment would be conducive to a successful franchise.

The NHL sparked a sea change earlier this year by awarding Las Vegas an expansion franchise. The NFL appears to be ready to follow suit, with six owners saying they would support the move when asked by Jarrett Bell of USA Today in May.

“I’m thinking like a fan,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “Traveling to Vegas for visiting fans to see their team play would be fun. That part would be good. And thinking about Vegas and the rotation of Super Bowls. They have the infrastructure for big events.”

A three-fourths majority is needed for an owner to relocate a franchise. It appears there aren't any structural issues with the move. The Raiders would remain located on the West Coast, so they could stay in the AFC West. There is no franchise in the Vegas area, so they wouldn't be infringing on any other owner's part of the country.

Barring a change of heart at the governmental level or an improvement to Oakland's offer, it's looking more likely that we'll see the Raiders in Las Vegas.


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