Mark Davis, owner of the NFL’s iconic silver-and-black Oakland Raiders, will have a golden opportunity Wednesday in New York to demonstrate to fellow owners that it’s in the best interests of pro football’s most exclusive club to permit him to move his team to Las Vegas.
Davis will appear before the stadium and finance committees in daylong meetings that involve other related league matters. More than half of the NFL’s ownership group will be in New York.
Several of the NFL’s most powerful owners, or their representatives, will listen to Davis update his efforts to move the Raiders out of Oakland for a second time in the past 38 years. Among those owners is Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, who, along with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, has said Las Vegas is a favorable relocation destination.
Committee members will query Davis regarding the Raiders’ progress on stadium and financing issues. Owners want concrete evidence that the Raiders have done their homework regarding Las Vegas’ economic viability as an NFL city.
“There’s a lot of work to be done’’ before a move to Las Vegas is approved, said a source close to the league and familiar with Wednesday’s meetings. Some owners, the source said, also will take a long pause regarding a potential move to Las Vegas because of the city’s legal sports gambling.
The committees also want documentation that specifies the extent of Sheldon Adelson’s involvement in the Raiders’ move. Adelson is chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which, among other properties, operates The Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Expo and Convention Center on the Las Vegas Strip. Adelson has committed $650 million of his family’s personal wealth to help finance a $1.9 billion domed stadium in Las Vegas. An increase in Clark County’s hotel room tax will fund $750 million, and Davis has pledged $500 million toward the stadium.
Andy Abboud, vice president of government relations and community development for Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Adelson’s representative in stadium matters, told the Review-Journal last month that there’s no truth to reports that Adelson is interested in an ownership stake in the Raiders.
“The NFL has made it very clear that that’s not going to happen,” Abboud said in December.
Owners also await word on whether the San Diego Chargers intend to relocate to Los Angeles, where the Rams moved from St. Louis a year ago. The Chargers have until Sunday to apply for relocation to Los Angeles, but the league could extend the deadline.
The San Diego franchise also is exploring a solution to remain in San Diego, where the Chargers have played for 56 seasons. Chargers chairman Dean Spanos is not expected to be in New York.
If the Chargers decide to remain in San Diego, it would thrust open a theoretical door for Davis to move the Raiders back to Los Angeles — if he suddenly showed interest in remaining in a larger, more lucrative TV market.
However, Davis repeatedly has said Las Vegas will be the Raiders’ new home, and it will be provided 75 percent of league ownership concurs and votes in favor of the move.
Spanos is said to be considering his options. He does not need committee involvement or an owners’ vote to move his franchise to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Oakland has made a last-ditch effort to keep the Raiders in that city even as the team is drastically raising ticket prices for the 2017 season.
The stadium committee is chaired by Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The other members are Michael Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals; Joe Ellis, Denver Broncos; Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys; George H. McCaskey, Chicago Bears; Mark Wilf, Minnesota Vikings; and Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers.
The finance committee, chaired by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, is comprised of Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons; Joel Glazer, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Clark Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs; Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts; Woody Johnson, New York Jets; Shahid Kahn, Jacksonville Jaguars; Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles; Steve Ross of the Miami Dolphins; and Kraft.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.
Jon Saraceno can be reached at email@example.com.