Even as Mark Davis ups his push to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, Oakland is doubling down on its commitment to not enter a bidding war.
Following the approval of $750 million in public funds from the State of Nevada, Davis’ next step is to gain permission to relocate from the NFL. The basic requirement is that Davis receive affirmative votes from 24 of the league’s 32 owners. Some other steps, including an NFL market study of Las Vegas, will need to be completed, but it appears that Davis has swayed some owners by obtaining the $750 million subsidy for the $1.9 billion project. More from ESPN.com:
“Mark Davis said that he was committed to Las Vegas 100 percent, and that there were several market studies being done by the Raiders,” said one source who was present when Davis made his presentation at the league meetings in Houston.
There appears to be growing support for Davis among some owners as he has made no progress with Oakland officials over the last few years and was given clearance to file for relocation to Los Angeles earlier this year, though he lost out to Rams owner Stan Kroenke. Also, Las Vegas has committed $750 million in public money toward building a new stadium, presumably near the Strip.
“I don’t know what there is to say other than, ‘Congrats, Raiders on getting the largest public subsidy ever and cleaning up our L.A. [mess],” another source familiar with the Raiders’ presentation told ESPN. “They’ve busted their ass to get something done. I respect that. … Once you’ve stepped up and produced something, you deserve better.”
While any final approval of a relocation is unlikely to come until January, the next few months will be key to Davis’ efforts. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the aforementioned NFL market study could be presented by December 14, giving Davis’ fellow owners some time to review the data before a decision is made.
Another factor in the fate of the Raiders is the status of Oakland. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously put forth the notion that Oakland could come up with an alternative plan to keep the Raiders.
Oakland’s most prominent plan has been one that would see an investment group that includes Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott partner on a football-only stadium and surrounding development on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site. Mayor Libby Schaaf says that that plan could be revealed in the next few weeks, but is also reaffirming her previous commitment to not leverage significant public dollars to compete with Las Vegas. More from SFGate.com:
“I cannot afford for us to be thrown off our game because Nevada lawmakers have deemed it appropriate to put $750 million in public towards a private sports facility,” Schaaf said as Raiders owner Mark Davis met with other National Football League executives in Houston, Texas.
“While I’m committed to keeping the Raiders, I will not enter a bidding war with Nevada using public funds,” Schaaf continued.
Until anything is finalized, Oakland should be considered a viable candidate, but Davis is clearly making Las Vegas his main priority.
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