An influential joint committee of NFL owners “is inclined to recommend” that the Raiders’ application to move from Oakland to Las Vegas be put to a vote of the entire ownership group at the annual league meeting later this month in Phoenix, according to a person familiar with the league’s inner workings.
The joint committee, consisting of owners on the stadium and finance committees, has not yet made a formal recommendation that owners should ratify the Raiders’ relocation, according to that person, who cautioned that work remains to be done but added that such a recommendation could be made before the matter is put in the hands of the full ownership body.
The Raiders’ proposed move would have to be approved by at least 24 of the 32 owners. The owners are scheduled to meet March 26-29 at a Phoenix-area resort.
A recommendation by the joint committee would not ensure ratification by the owners. The owners ignored a committee recommendation when they chose the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers to move to Los Angeles. The committee on L.A. recommended the joint stadium project proposed by the Chargers and Raiders in Carson, Calif., over that of the Rams in Inglewood. But the owners chose the Rams and Inglewood and gave the Chargers an option, which they later exercised, to join the Rams there.
It is rare that such committee recommendations are ignored in key ownership votes, however. The committee’s actions are a clear signal that it is leaning strongly toward telling the owners that there is little choice but to allow the Raiders to relocate.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has said he is intent on moving to Las Vegas to play in a proposed $1.9 billion stadium there. The Raiders removed a major obstacle to relocation when they informed the NFL that Bank of America will supply the $650 million in financing that was to be provided by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson before he withdrew from the stadium deal. The Raiders are to supply $500 million and there is $750 million in public funding approved.
Efforts by political leaders in Oakland to keep the team there do not appear to have satisfied NFL representatives that there is a viable stadium-deal option in the Bay Area. Davis has said he would keep the franchise in Oakland temporarily while a new stadium in Vegas would be under construction.
No vote of the joint committee was taken Tuesday and the committee’s recommendation is contingent upon the remaining work being completed to its satisfaction, according to the person close to the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league’s deliberations are ongoing.