The Oakland Raiders have submitted a proposed lease agreement to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority that would have the team pay $1 a year in rent for the use of a new dome.
The team presented the document at Thursday’s brief authority board meeting as the team awaits a decision from National Football League owners on whether it will be allowed to relocate to Southern Nevada.
“We recognize that there’s a lot of work to do here,” Raiders Executive Vice President Dan Ventrelle told the board, saying the draft would serve as a starting point for negotiations between the authority and the team. “As much as we’d like to take it a step at a time, we have to dual-track a lot of that work, so we’ve tried to move forward.”
The proposed agreement addresses every aspect of the team’s use of the stadium, from the sale of concessions and merchandise to parking and the placement of automatic teller machines. The document also addresses stadium naming rights, advertising and broadcast rights and the proposed $1-a-year lease cost.
The Raiders paid $3.5 million in rent to play at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2016 after paying $925,000 for the 2015 season. The team has options to remain at the stadium for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The annual stadium rent payments of other NFL teams have a wide range: more than $20 million for the San Francisco 49ers, $8.5 million for the Minnesota Vikings, $2 million per year for the Dallas Cowboys and $1 million per year for the Seattle Seahawks. Other teams pay no rent. Some NFL franchises own their stadiums.
The Raiders’ 65,000-seat stadium would be owned by the authority, because Clark County hotel room tax revenues would cover $750 million in bonds toward $1.9 billion in construction costs. The Raiders would cover $500 million, and the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson would contribute $650 million.
Authority board members and the authority’s legal counsel are expected to review the 107-page document and discuss it at a February meeting.
If three-fourths of NFL owners approve the team’s move — a vote is expected at owners’ meetings in March — the authority would manage construction of the stadium with the goal of completing it in time for the 2020 NFL season.
The proposed lease agreement makes no mention of the Adelsons or any other potential private development partner. Earlier this month, the Raiders told the NFL that Goldman Sachs is committed to financing the stadium with or without an investment from the Adelsons.
Andy Abboud, vice president of government relations and community affairs for Las Vegas Sands Corp., sat with Raiders executives at Thursday’s meeting but had no comment on the presentation. Abboud, who has spoken on behalf of the Adelson family throughout the stadium’s planning, has said negotiations with the team are continuing.
RECAPPING RELOCATION REQUEST
In an eight-minute presentation to the authority board, Raiders President Marc Badain and Ventrelle recapped the team’s Jan. 19 request to move the team to Las Vegas.
Badain said prior to filing the request, the team made five presentations to either the NFL’s stadium finance committee or the entire group of owners.
“Some were more intense than others. Some were brief updates,” Badain said.
“The last few were very productive. We spent a lot of time going through the market data and the market research that we had commissioned to assess the viability of the market and the strength of the market. You may recall those were some of the questions that were coming out of the NFL headquarters. We’ve allayed those fears. We’ve gotten past that, and now we’re on to the next step.”
Earlier in Thursday’s meeting, the authority board, as expected, agreed to contract with the Houston-based Andrews Kurth law firm, which is collaborating with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck of Las Vegas as the authority’s legal representatives.
Andrews Kurth has provided legal services for the financing, development, leasing and operations of several major- and minor-league stadiums in Texas, including Houston’s NRG Stadium, the host of next month’s Super Bowl LI.
PROGRESS UPDATES PLANNED
In the next four to six weeks, Raiders management will continue to answer questions from the league and give it updates on progress on a lease agreement. There’s no deadline for that to be completed, Badain said, but the fact that the process has started would be viewed favorably by the league.
He also affirmed Thursday that the team is focused on acquiring 62 acres across Interstate 15 from Mandalay Bay for the stadium site and that team executives have begun talking with land-use planners, architects and construction executives.
The 62 acres are bordered by Russell Road, Hacienda Avenue, Polaris Avenue and Dean Martin Drive. If the stadium is to be more than 150 feet tall, the land would require a review from the Federal Aviation Administration before it could be approved as a site.
The Raiders have an option to buy the Russell Road land that extends beyond the date of the proposed relocation vote of NFL owners, currently scheduled for meetings in Phoenix March 26-28.
“We’ve had conversations with multiple architects, construction firms and project managers,” Badain said. “We’re going to try to assemble the best in the business. We’re in a good place from the timing standpoint in that, other than the Los Angeles stadium project, there really aren’t a lot of NFL projects going up right now, so there are a lot of companies that have solicited us, and we’re talking and meeting with all of them.”
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.
Other details of the Oakland Raiders’ proposed lease with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, released Thursday:
— The Raiders would collect all naming rights revenue for the stadium and its plaza and all signage revenue.
— The Raiders would select all concession vendors and collect all concession and parking revenue for team events. The authority would keep all concession and parking revenue from concerts and events it stages.
— The team would control some parts of the stadium year-round, including a Raiders Hall of Fame, a team restaurant and a team store. The team would be responsible for all costs and expenses for those areas.
— The Raiders would have to sign off on the use of the stadium for any college football games, including UNLV games.
— Under the proposal, the Raiders also would have to sign off on any field markings and not diminish any team marking.
The proposal says, “Under no circumstances shall field markings for the team’s games be diminished or compromised in any way by the presence of collegiate football games of any kind. To the extent field marking to accommodate collegiate games can be removed completely prior to team games or such markings can be placed on a turf surface with the grass field removed during collegiate games, the team shall use reasonable efforts to support collegiate field markings, but the team shall have no obligation to compromise its field markings or field conditions for collegiate games at any time.”
— Richard N. Velotta