This is it, just about, for the Oakland Raiders. NFL owners are expected to vote on the team’s proposed move to Las Vegas next week at the league’s annual meetings in Phoenix, perhaps as soon as Monday.
As The Washington Post notes, the committee running point on the issue is recommending it for a full vote. Nothing is certain until 24 of the 32 owners vote in favor of the move, but it’s expected to happen. It’s unlikely that all 32 owners would be voting on the issue if there was much doubt that it would pass.
The committee’s recommendation is a good sign that sign the league feels confident in the financing plan owner Mark Davis has in place with Bank of America. That’s the backup plan to the deal he had with Las Vegas casino impresario Sheldon Adelson to contribute $650 million, a deal that fell apart after Davis proposed a deal in which the team would pay $1 per year in rent.
The deal calls for the Raiders to contribute $500 million, including a loan from the league’s stadium construction financing program, along with $750 million from Nevada’s public revenue.
The NFL is also set to make it easier for the Raiders to move with a relatively low relocation fee ranging from $325 to $375 million, according to The MMQB. It’s more affordable for Davis compared to the $650 million Rams owner Stan Kroenke had to pay to move from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
If the league approves the Raiders’ move, that will be three teams that got the green light to relocate in 14 months. It’s something the NFL used to try hard to avoid, which usually meant holding state and local governments over a cliff while billionaire owners picked their pocket to get public money for a stadium.
That’s not the way it works now. The Rams moved because the owner wanted to, and was willing to pay for his own stadium in Los Angeles (expect for the various infrastructure and tax abatements that do cost the public money). The Chargers were never interested in meeting the city of San Diego halfway, and the city of Oakland held fast in its opposition to dumping more money into a new stadium for the Raiders.
The Raiders should be fine in Las Vegas. As one owner quoted in The MMQB piece says, “I think in 10 to 15 years, you’ll see the Raiders doing better than at least one of the L.A. teams and potentially both L.A. teams.”
Of course, the Raiders probably would’ve been successful in L.A. too, probably more successful than either of the current teams and their commitment to mediocrity.
Building new stadiums with more premium seats and squatting on ever more lucrative local television markets are what does matter because those thing get the NFL much closer to Roger Goodell’s stated goal of the league earning $25 billion per season, the same path that gave us Thursday Night Football. Winning teams and happy fans connected to their local franchise are secondary concerns.