Even as progress continues on a Las Vegas NFL stadium, commissioner Roger Goodell is not offering any assurances that the Oakland Raiders will relocate.
As was noted here yesterday, the commissioner is publicly stating that there may still be options for the Raiders to pursue in Oakland. While by no means complete, the Raiders’ efforts to leave Oakland have gathered momentum over the past week. The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee recently voted to recommend the development of a $1.9 billion stadium project that would receive $750 million in public funds.
Nevada governor Brian Sandoval will now decide how to proceed with that recommendation, and determine whether to put forth a vote for a 0.88% hotel tax increase in Clark County. Raiders owner Mark Davis has said that he will seek the NFL’s permission to relocated if the funding plan is approved. However Goodell recently told several outlets, including The Associated Press, “There’s still a lot that has to happen before we would get to that stage. Recognizing that they came out of committee with a bill, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to improve that recommendation.”
One of the biggest questions that remains unanswered is whether Sandoval and state legislators will fund the project. Beyond that, the issue of the Raiders may come down to the desire of individual owners and how those wants clash with Goodell’s ideas. More from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Goodell has expressed concerns about Las Vegas and its casino and sports betting environment, but some powerful NFL owners — led by Dallas’ Jerry Jones, Los Angeles’ Stan Kroenke and New England’s Robert Kraft — have made public comments in support of Las Vegas joining the NFL.
“I just think the obvious that Las Vegas is a very attractive place,” Jones told the Review-Journal in May. “It’s a great entertainment environment, and I think that far overshadows any issue to do with gambling. We had discussions about Vegas. We had no pushback in any kinds of discussions.”
Kroenke told the Review-Journal that he and most other owners sensed “more comfort, more clarity” with the issue of legalized sports betting, and added, “I feel like Las Vegas has matured and grown a lot. I feel like Mark Davis is doing a good job of looking at his alternatives, which you have to do if you can’t get things worked out in your home market. I think Mark’s doing it the right way.”
The comments by Jones and Kroenke were made at the NFL Spring Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. At that time, Goodell dismissed a question about the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas as “premature” and “pure speculation.”
For right now the power struggle is probably a little ways down the road, especially since there is still no firm timeline on if or when Sandoval will call for a vote. Oakland has not committed public money to a stadium, but officials have been considering a deal to sell the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and the surrounding land to an investor group that includes Ronnie Lott. Lott and his group would seek to build a football-only stadium and create additional development opportunities.
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