It appears it isn’t going to matter that the Oakland Raiders and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority won’t have a lease agreement in place when NFL owners meet in Phoenix at the end of the month to consider relocation of the team to Southern Nevada.
The nine-member board, as expected, discussed details of a lease on Thursday but took no vote, and the authority board won’t meet again until after NFL owners gather March 26-29 to consider the team’s relocation.
Authority board Chairman Steve Hill said he believes the Raiders are confident enough in what they completed earlier this week — a loan agreement with Bank of America — that they will be able to take their relocation request to owners as planned.
The Raiders must get affirmative votes from 24 of 32 NFL team owners to approve relocation.
“My sense is that the approval will probably come, if it comes, with some conditions around what’s important to the NFL around the content of what that lease would be,” Hill said after the meeting.
“As we went through the process of talking to the attorneys, we asked them questions along those lines. They said the requirements that the NFL puts on that are reasonable and the NFL certainly functions in a businesslike manner,” Hill added. “They’re not trying to be overly intrusive. They just want to make sure that their interests are protected as well.”
Hill added that “we’re hoping it will happen at the end of March, but that’s for the Raiders and the NFL to deal with.”
If a vote doesn’t come in March, it could occur at another owners meeting in May in Chicago.
Representatives of the Raiders did not attend Thursday’s meeting but issued a statement that was read at the meeting by Jeremy Aguero, a principal for Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, which serves as staff to the Stadium Authority.
The statement affirmed what the Raiders said earlier this week — that they had had reached a financing agreement with Bank of America for their share of construction costs.
“Financing for the project has been secured as the Raiders informed the Stadium Authority board that they would in the last Stadium Authority board meeting,” Aguero read from the statement.
The Raiders haven’t reported the amount of the loan. The Stadium Authority board’s lead attorney, Mark Arnold of Houston-based Andrews Kurth Kenyon, said he hasn’t seen the loan agreement between the Raiders and Bank of America, but loans of that type commonly are secured by revenue generated by stadium operations.
“The collateral typically is the revenue from what here is called the ‘stadium events company,’” Arnold said. “Their net operating income goes to pay back that loan, which probably would include a rent payment from the Raiders to the stadium events company.”
Arnold also said there would be a leasehold mortgage securing the real estate position. That would be required because if there is a default under the loan, the lender would want to foreclose and take the tenant’s position in the stadium so it could generate the revenue or put somebody in there who could.
It’s unclear whether the Raiders would become the events company or hire a third party that has experience managing a stadium or arena.
Regardless of who manages the stadium, the Stadium Authority will own the land on which the stadium stands. One of the stipulations of Senate Bill 1 is that the team acquire the property and give it to the Stadium Authority at no cost.