Though questions had arisen about the proposal’s financing, a committee reviewing a Las Vegas Stadium for the Oakland Raiders has voted to recommend the project.
In recent weeks, there had been intense discussion over whether the public contribution to the $1.9 billion dollar stadium should be capped at 39%. While the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee considered adding the provision, plus another relating to profits from the stadium, the Raiders and the Las Vegas Sands Corp balked at the idea, insisting that the project needed a guaranteed $750 million to move forward.
For the brief consternation this caused, the final decision was decidedly in favor of the Raiders and Las Vegas Sands Corp. The developers will receive profits from the stadium through the life of the team’s lease, while the committee ultimately opted to remove the proposed cap. The final vote by the committee was unanimous, with an 11-0 margin allowing the proposal to proceed as a recommendation to Nevada governor Brian Sandoval.
As outlined, the proposal includes the guaranteed $750 million contribution–which would be raised through a 0.88% hotel tax increase in Clark County–and calls for the creation of a stadium authority. The committee opted to not recommend a site, leaving that question to the eventual stadium authority and the developers, the latter of which are known to prefer a location north of Russel Road.
Now, the decision lies in the hands of Sandoval, who must decide how to proceed with the recommendation. More from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
In a statement released shortly after the meeting, Sandoval said he would start reviewing the committee’s recommendations but would not “move forward until all questions have been resolved.”
“Nevada has served as the standard bearer for global tourism, gaming, and conventions for decades,” Sandoval said. “In order to remain the top destination, we must explore potential opportunities and push forward to lead this international industry into the next generation of travel and tourism. I am hopeful the work completed by this committee will serve as a roadmap to Southern Nevada’s unrivaled and continued success.”
Andy Abboud, vice president of government relations and community development for Las Vegas Sands, said that if the state Legislature doesn’t hold a special session before the Nov. 8 election, then it could make it more difficult for a Raiders relocation package to be approved by the NFL in January. Abboud then acknowledged that the final call must come from Sandoval.
“Let’s enjoy this for about five minutes and we’ll find out what the governor is going to say,” said Abboud, who is representing Adelson in the stadium negotiations. “We feel confident that he understands what needs to be done.”
In order for the project to move forward, it will need to be approved by Sandoval and the state legislature. Because the next legislative session does not begin until February, there has been some hope from developers that a special vote will be held on the issue. If the special session is conducted, and ultimately leads to the stadium’s approval, the Raiders and owner Mark Davis will seek the NFL’s permission to move to Las Vegas. As the Review-Journal explains, the league is unlikely to balk at the plan:
In comments to the Los Angeles Times in August, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he does not expect widespread league opposition to Las Vegas. Votes of approval for relocation are required from 24 of 32 owners.
“You’ll have certain individual owners with thoughts, but you won’t see people clumping together to try to stop it — not with Las Vegas in the Raiders’ case,” Jones said. “You’re not going to have factions and things like that. Not here.”
Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of corporate communications, responded to a Review-Journal interview request in an email: “We do not have a comment.”
Turning down a plan that could have $750 million guaranteed for the stadium would be a curious move for the NFL, especially since the Raiders seem unlikely to receive that steep of a contribution in Oakland. For now, the Raiders will to wait and see if Sandoval and the state legislators are eager to get behind the project, and get behind it quickly.
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