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NFL owners interested in Raiders move to Las Vegas

As the possibility of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas becomes more likely, some NFL owners are expressing their support for the idea

News 04 Jun 2016, 17:47 IST
Oakland Raiders
The Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995 after spending a decade in Los Angeles

As the possibility of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas becomes more likely, some NFL owners are expressing their support for the idea and are working to persuade other owners.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have explicitly stated their support for a Raiders move. Other owners who have stated their support include the Houston Texans’ Bob McNair and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jeffrey Lurie. Meanwhile, the owners of the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, and the New York Giants have indicated their opposition to the move.

In order for the Raiders to move to Vegas, 24 of the 32 NFL owners would have to approve. The question which most of the owners have is about whether Las Vegas is a market which could viably sustain an NFL team. While this is lessened to some degree by the nationwide appeal of “Raiders Nation”, the importance of having a reliable local fan base cannot be understated. However, concerns of profitability are much better for Vegas compared to past sports owners objections to placing a sports team in the gambling capital of the United States. 

In the meantime, there are several hurdles which the Raiders must figure out if they intend to move to Vegas. The biggest problem is the fact that there is no NFL stadium in Las Vegas nor is it even guaranteed that one will be built.

On Thursday, Raiders owner Mark Davis met with Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman along with several tourism experts to discuss the impact of a Raiders move to Vegas and building a stadium. In addition, Davis along with several backers released a video extolling how the move will benefit the city.

The current discussions revolve around how much public money will be used to help build the stadium. Davis stated back in April that he would be willing to contribute $500 million, but he is asking for $750 million from the city. This money would be created by increasing a tax on hotels, a profitable but risky endeavor given Vegas’s dependency on tourism. But at the same time, Las Vegas could use this money to instead fund a new convention center, something which some tourist experts believe is necessary to retain business.

If everything goes right for Davis, the stadium would be constructed by 2019, and the Raiders would begin playing in the new stadium by the 2020 season. But as ESPN notes, the Raiders might actually move out sooner due to leasing concerns with Oakland. This could see the Raiders play in San Antonio for a year or two, or even move to Vegas and temporary play in the Sam Boyd Stadium.

But all of this discussion is meaningless if Davis cannot receive NFL owner support. But as the owners talk amongst each other, it has become apparent that the vast majority of them are receptive to a NFL team in Las Vegas. Whether it will pass the 24-team threshold still remains to be seen.

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