This being a town of odds, and knowing how much NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell loves talking Las Vegas and gambling, I thought it important to update those chances the Raiders will either remain in Oakland or relocate the franchise.
I’m not suggesting Las Vegas is a favorite the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor, but when dispersing Raiders helmets to those in the running, the city exists as it has for some time: a clear front-runner.
In a saga that has produced countless most-important-dates, mark March 9 as one not to miss.
It could mean everything.
That’s when the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board next meets, and the Raiders are expected to again present an update on their quest for relocation. Hopefully, this time they’ll include actual specifics.
If league owners are going to vote at their March meetings in Arizona on the Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas, they’re going to first need to vet a lease agreement. That takes time.
Now, maybe, possibly, probably, much of that is underway behind the scenes, and the Raiders indeed have secured full financing since Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson withdrew his family’s $650 million commitment last month.
The team reportedly has two banks prepared to help fund the $1.9 billion stadium deal, one that includes $750 million in tax revenue. The latter point remains a major reason many within the NFL believe the Raiders will make Las Vegas home. The idea of owners walking away from that level of public funding is incomprehensible for a league that champions public-private stadiums — with a huge emphasis on the public part.
Jones, especially for him, has been conspicuously quiet lately on the Raiders and their Las Vegas intentions. He has walked this particular line a bit more carefully.
But it has been known for some time the main Cowboy favors the Raiders relocating, and when it comes to Oakland needing a three-fourths vote of approval from 32 owners, Jones again could prove the most convincing voice in the room.
In the meantime, when others talk about how some owners still might be nervous about legal sports wagering in Las Vegas or how tickets might sell or the market size, never forget this number: $750 million.
It’s the one thing that keeps Las Vegas wearing the most helmets.
Things have been quiet in the East Bay, and maybe that means a stadium plan from a group led by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott is gaining traction.
More likely, it’s near death.
Mark Davis didn’t want the proposed stadium deal, and the NFL agreed with the Raiders owner. There was zero interest from anyone who matters with how it read.
Oakland’s stance on public financing hasn’t changed. The city won’t contribute to a stadium and won’t move from that position, even if it means losing the Raiders.
Some news came this week when the lead investor for Lott’s group was acquired by SoftBank, a Japanese tech conglomerate. SoftBank owns the Fukuoka Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization in Japan, but there is no indication it bought the Fortress Investment Group for $3.3 billion with the intention of getting involved with an NFL stadium deal. A Fortress spokesman told reporters the company is still “all in on the Raiders stadium deal.”
I wonder if the folks in Japan know that.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has a healthy approval rating and knows the city can’t afford two stadiums, and that there are far better odds of getting something done for Major League Baseball and the Athletics than the Raiders.
The devotion of Oakland’s Raiders fan base is unquestioned, but is there enough public fascination to continue down a road that has been traveled unsuccessfully for more than a decade?
They are hurting in paradise.
It has been an emotional roller-coaster since the Chargers (foolishly) pointed their U-Haul toward Los Angeles, where they will be tenants in the $2.6 billion stadium being built in Inglewood by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
The Padres even hosted a Celebrate San Diego Rally (ouch) to help raise the spirits of fans shunned by their NFL team, a way of convincing people things will be all right because the town still has major league baseball and college sports and even minor league hockey and indoor soccer.
Of course, things aren’t all right.
They lost the NFL. Things changed forever.
Maybe that’s why so many in San Diego are in such a rush to embrace a questionable-at-best stadium deal that would house a Major League Soccer expansion franchise and San Diego State football. Well, the Aztecs aren’t in a rush. They aren’t fans of the deal, which has every chance of being a land grab by wealthy La Jolla suits as it does a legitimate answer to what’s best for the existing Qualcomm Stadium site. This is some of the best real estate in Southern California.
Then there is Doug Manchester, a local developer who recently contacted the NFL about his desire to build a privately financed stadium. He mentioned that the project could provide an “immediate alternative” for the Raiders should the Las Vegas deal crumble.
If anything, it created some buzz as potential leverage should league owners not jump at helping Davis realize his Sin City dream. But the Manchester letter to Goodell was just that, and financing such a dream doesn’t occur overnight.
The city is reeling. It wants to build something now, and by the looks of things, is intently focused on a different kind of football than the one used by the Raiders.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.