Las Vegas — The National Football League (NFL) voted 31-1 on March 27 to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, ending more than a year of speculation, legislative consideration, financial commitments made and broken and a last-ditch effort by Oakland to retain the team.
In the end, a $1.9 billion 65,000-seat domed stadium will be built as home for the Raiders by 2020. The stadium will be financed in part by $750 million in public funding approved by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval last October after a special session of the legislature at which $400 million for expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center was also approved. The public funding for the stadium would be backed by an increase in the Clark County hotel room tax.
The deal hit a road bump when Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson withdrew his promise to contribute $650 million to the effort. That amount was replaced in part by a loan package from Bank of America just a few weeks ago. That enabled Raiders and managing general partner Mark Davis to anchor a public-private partnership with $500 million toward the construction costs. The NFL also will contribute to funding. The city of Oakland unsuccessfully made a last-ditch effort to keep the team in town.
The stadium, expected to be located near the Las Vegas Strip, will open no later than 2020. One potential site that has repeatedly been mentioned is a vacant parcel of land west of the I-15 and near the Mandalay Bay complex. The team will continue to play in Oakland for at least the 2017 and 2018 NFL seasons and may play at the Sam Boyd Stadium at the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus during the 2018 and/or 2019 seasons.
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the vote would benefit the UNLV football program, create thousands of construction jobs and draw tens of thousands of new tourists to Southern Nevada.
Earlier this year, Megan Tanel, whose group stages the triennial ConExpo/ConAGG show that draws more than 100,000 attendees to Las Vegas, said she was supportive of the stadium proposal because of the additional options it would offer attendees pre- or post-show.
Reach Megan Tanel at (414)272-0943 or email@example.com