Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has doubled down on his support of the Raiders’ relocation bid to Las Vegas, telling a Dallas radio station on Tuesday that he believes the move is “pretty definitive.”
In October, the Nevada state senate approved a bill that would pledge $750 million in public money toward the $1.7 billion, 65,000-seat stadium.
Mark Davis, the owner the Raiders, has pledged $500 million toward the stadium, while billionaire Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pledged an additional $650 million.
But before the Raiders can pack their bags for Sin City, 24 of the 32 NFL owners must approve of the relocation. Jones, who has long been a vocal supporter of having an NFL franchise in Las Vegas, is also among the most powerful owners in football.
Here’s what he had to say about the move (courtesy of CBS Sports):
“Really if you look at the history of teams moving, this is pretty definitive. There’s a pretty bright line right there. They have provided for a team, the most funding that’s ever been funded from third parties,” Jones said. “So that’s about as strong, L.A. never really had that powerful of influence, I’ll put it that way. Which is over $700 million of initial contribution from the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas. That’s pretty strong. Vegas has a lot going for it. I think it’s going to really have, a real, if you will, strong case to get an NFL football team. I know that Oakland, certainly, was approved to move earlier this year.
Jones’ endorsement does not guarantee the move, of course. Roger Goodell has said he would like to see the Raiders remain in Oakland, and reports have suggested the majority of the NFL owners feel the same way. While gambling is often cited as the primary reason NFL owners want to stay out of Vegas, the fact that the Las Vegas TV market is significantly smaller than Oakland’s is reportedly a big drawback, too.
Adelson, meanwhile, has offered mixed signals in his support of Vegas. Despite his initial pledge of $650 million, he recently told Reuters that he is willing to walk away from the deal entirely.
“I negotiated to bring in the Oakland Raiders, an NFL football team from Oakland, because they don’t have a stadium there, that I would build a stadium and rent it out to the Oakland Raiders,” Adelson said.
“They want so much,” Adelson added. “So I told my people, ‘Tell them I could live with the deal, I could live without the deal. Here’s the way it’s gonna go down. If they don’t want it, bye-bye.'”
In other words, it’s still not yet a sure thing that a vote will even take place in January.
But one can never underestimate Jones, especially not after Stan Kroenke moved the Rams to Los Angeles. A lot still has to happen between now and January. For now, Jones’ continued public support of Vegas is nothing but good news for Mark Davis.
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