'There may be no stopping' the Raiders move to Las Vegas

NFL owners are expected to vote on the future of the Raiders at next week’s league meeting in Phoenix, and several reports suggest that the team’s bid to relocate to Las Vegas is now likely to happen.

From the Washington Post:

“I think it will be approved,” a high-ranking official with one NFL team said. “But I’m not certain yet.”

Those sentiments were echoed by others with knowledge of the league’s inner workings.

“I’m guessing it gets done,” one of those people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. “It really comes down to: What else are you gonna do?”

Last week, the NFL’s stadium finance committee met and discussed the Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium funding plan, which nearly fell apart when Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who had pledged to contribute $US650 million to the project, backed out.

Raiders’ owner Mark Davis managed to secure a back-up plan with Bank of America stepping in for Adelson, and according to the MMQB, the very fact that the stadium finance committee is recommending a full vote suggests they feel confident that the relocation has the votes needed to pass.

From the MMQB:

“The expectation now is that a vote on the move will be taken at next week’s annual meeting — a good indication the league feels it has the requisite three-quarters of the league’s 32 owners to approve the move to Las Vegas.”

According to NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, the vote is expected to take place on Monday. If there’s any hope for the Raiders staying in Oakland, it’s that NFL owners will feel some trepidation about moving a franchise from the country’s sixth-largest market (Oakland) to its 40th (Las Vegas). That, plus the complicated relationship between the NFL and the gambling industry, could give some owners cold feet.

But more than anything else, the building momentum for the “Las Vegas Raiders” comes down to stadium financing. The state of Nevada has pledged $US750 million in public money to build the $US1.9 billion stadium, whereas the city of Oakland has pledged no public money toward the construction of a new stadium. As Deadspin noted, insofar as new stadiums are investments made by franchise owners in order to make their teams more valuable, having public money — however controversial — makes for a safer investment.

The NFL, for its part, is also helping make the relocation easy on Mark Davis. According to the MMQB, the Raiders’ relocation fee would be somewhere between $US325 million and $US375 million, which is quite affordable compared to the $US650 million that Stan Kroenke had to pay to move the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

In the end, it comes down to 24 votes. Nothing is guaranteed, but as the MMQB put it, “there may be no stopping them now.”

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