Officials in Las Vegas plan to build a stadium there and want the Raiders to move into it, but many feel that there’s just one, teensy flaw in that plan: the NFL would never allow one of its teams to relocate to the Mecca of gambling in the U.S. However, when asked about that very possibility, Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t exactly rule it out of hand.
“Ultimately, it’s the ownership’s decision,” Goodell said on “The Rich Eisen Show” Wednesday. “It requires 24 of the 32 owners to approve any relocation to any market.
“Obviously, there are specific issues that would need to be discussed in the context of Las Vegas,” Goodell continued, “but I think it’s way premature at this point to be speculating on that. There’s no proposals, there’s nothing firm in any way, so I think that at some point it may come up, but for right now we’re not focused on that.”
The league may not be “focused” on the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, but just the fact that Goodell indicated that it would get put to a league-wide vote, just as the Rams’ relocation to Los Angeles recently was, is noteworthy. Perhaps, though, the commissioner is confident that such a scenario would never be approved by the other owners, so he’d be willing to let it get that far.
At the same time, the Raiders are in a tough spot, in large part because they were denied a move to Los Angeles, at least pending the Chargers’ decision on whether they want to stay in San Diego or move in with the Rams. Oakland officials have been loathe to commit public funds to a new facility, reflecting a mood in many cash-strapped municipalities, and Raiders owner Mark Davis is considered to be among the most cash-poor of his NFL peers.
The proposed stadium in Las Vegas, a 65,000-seat facility with a dome, would require some public money, but it would be financed largely by Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of the Sands casino, making it that much more likely to become a reality. Adelson hosted Davis, after which the Raiders owner told San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami (via a podcast) that his visit was “interesting” but wondered if “the environment is yet correct for the National Football League.”
— Las Vegas Sands (@LasVegasSands) January 29, 2016
Davis told Kawakami that he was negotiating with Oakland officials to spend at least the 2016 at O.co Coliseum, and after that, he would try to figure out “where the future of the Raiders lies.” The team could still wind up moving to Los Angeles, or even San Diego, with other cities such as San Antonio and Portland, Ore., potentially in play.
(H/T CBS Sports)