The Oakland Raiders should be able to make their move to Las Vegas in 2020, according to a local official who says that Las Vegas stadium construction is on schedule.
After a lawsuit filed in December by the City of Oakland against the Raiders and the NFL prompted some uncertainty over where they would play home games in 2019, the Raiders are reportedly close to finalizing a lease extension for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The agreement would cover the 2019 season, and include an option that allows the Raiders to return in 2020–the same season that the new Las Vegas stadium is slated to open.
The option effectively provides the Raiders with a backup plan in the event that construction in Las Vegas falls behind schedule, but officials there do not believe that will happen. In recent comments, Las Vegas Stadium Authority chairman Steve Hill said that the stadium’s construction is on schedule and indicated that he is not worried about the 2020 option in the Raiders’ potential agreement in Oakland. More from the Las Vegas Sun:
Steve Hill, chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, said today that he isn’t concerned about the 2020 option.
“It’s smart on their part to have a backup plan,” Hill said. “I don’t think anyone involved anticipates them needing to use that backup plan, but the possibility, while remote, that something could happen is there.”…
Hill said that the stadium project is on schedule and on budget. He said the stadium’s roof is slated to go up later this year.
From the Raiders’ perspective, the option would effectively eliminate any concerns that the uncertainty that has surrounded their 2019 home schedule would resurface in 2020. Should the agreement in Oakland move forward, the Raiders would play seven home games at the Coliseum this year–an additional home contest in scheduled for London–while still preparing for their upcoming move to Las Vegas. The option for 2020 would give them a contingency if any issues with the Las Vegas stadium construction schedule emerge, but for now it appears that the Raiders can continue planning for a 2020 move.