NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is intensifying his efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland with the assistance of an African-American stadium investment group led by Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete, while Raiders owner Mark Davis has upped his commitment to a new Las Vegas stadium.
It’s a simple premise: by forcing Davis to accept new investors would help the NFL both on the Raiders front and on the image front, as the league is lacking any sizable African-American presence in owners suites. Given the strong presence of African-American players on the field, the lack of ownership stakes — never mind GM positions or even head-coaching sports — is a bad thing for the NFL, and it’s not exactly a hard thing to fix. Bringing Lott and Peete into the ownership group, especially when they can raise capital for a new stadium, is a win-win.
Unless you’re Mark Davis, who now clearly has his sights set on Sin City, a move he doubled-down on earlier this week. Not only does he not want anything to do with a new Oakland stadium, he’s totally committed to a new Las Vegas stadium, an idea that’s increasingly popular with the general public. And why not? Expanding the convention center may help the casinos and Strip hotels, but a new stadium would bring the NFL — and perhaps MLS — to town.
Of course, Davis does have options other than Oakland or Las Vegas: he can afford to burn a bridge or two because the beginning of the year should yield a decision on whether the Chargers end up moving to Los Angeles or playing at a new downtown San Diego stadium. If the Chargers move to Los Angeles, the market would be freed up for the Raiders; if the Chargers stay in San Diego, the Raiders would be free to move to a new stadium being built by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Throw in a new Raiders stadium as Plan C, and you can see why Davis can afford to be all-in on a new Vegas stadium: he’s the only customer in town where the odds are in his favor no matter what happens.