NFL Owners to Vote On Oakland Raiders Move to Las Vegas on March 30

Raiders to Las Vegas - NFL Owners Vote - Mark Davis Jerry Jones

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has given vocal support to Raiders’ owner Mark Davis, son of the legendary Al Davis.

National Football League owners might vote on the Oakland Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas at NFL league meetings next week. One anonymous owner told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that relocation vote is “more probable than not”.

The NFL owner’s meetings begin on Sunday, March 29 in Phoenix.

The ownership discusses a variety of issues during the offseason meetings, including potential rules changes and relocation efforts. Last year at this time, the owners approved relocation efforts by the then-St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers, who each wanted to move to theĀ Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Disappointment at 2016 NFL Meetings

At those same meetings, the Oakland Raiders were denied the ability to move to Los Angeles. In the year since, Raiders’ owner Mark Davis sought a new stadium from the City of Oakland, while also looking at other U.S. cities as possible relocation sites. Las Vegas emerged as the leading candidate, after a group led by Las Vegas Sands Corp CEO Sheldon Adelson offered hundreds of millions of dollars to fund construction of an NFL-ready stadium.

In January 2017, Mark Davis filed an application with the NFL league office to move the Raiders franchise to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 NFL season. Mark David pledged $500 million as part of a $1.9 billion construction plan for a stadium. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval pledged $750 million from the state (drawn from hotel tax), while Sheldon Adelson pledged another $600 million.

Bank of America’s Financial Support

Sheldon Adelson since has withdrawn his backing and been replaced by Bank of America. While an Adelson spokesman claimed the Raiders were being selfish in their designs as an excuse for withdrawing support, subsequent media reports suggested that the NFL’s commissioner and ownership did not approve of a casino executive being involved in the stadium deal — especially because some reports suggested the founder of Las Vegas Sands might receive a minority ownership stake in the deal.

For the Raiders to gain approval, 24 of the league’s 32 owners would have to vote in favor of the move. Mark Davis has one vote, so 23 fellow owners would need to approve the move. Because the Raiders have been unable to come to a deal on an Oakland-area stadium, it is thought Mark Davis has the sympathy of most owners, who understand the importance of modern skyboxes, which is part of the lifeblood of an NFL franchise these days.

NFL Owners Give Public Support

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft each have given public statements of support for the Raiders’ relocation. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been noncommittal on the prospect. While he has discussed the advantages of the Las Vegas stadium, he also has warned against building too close of a tie to Las Vegas’s sports betting industry.

CBS Sports and CSN California each reported that a stadium vote might come as early as Monday, March 30. Mark Davis is said to be confident he’ll receive the support he needs. Members of the sports media have approached owners and the groundswell seems to be in support of the move.

Mark Davis Confident of Success

One owner told ESPN’s Jim Trotter, “I think a positive vote, even if there are still unknowns, helps to keep the $750 million [in public funding] in play. It also keeps pressure on Oakland, which I think doesn’t have much meaning. I hear there is no specific site yet. Mark seems fairly confident it gets done.

The Oakland Raiders are somewhat famous (or infamous) for their relocation efforts. Mark Davis’s late father, Al Davis, sued the NFL in the 1980s for the right to move the franchise to Los Angeles; David’s 1984 Super Bowl trophy ceremony with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was considered a vindication for the Los Angeles Raiders’ owner. In 1995, Davis then moved the Raiders back to Oakland.

Approval Needed from Las Vegas Stadium Authority

If approved, the Las Vegas stadium would be located near the Vegas Strip on a 62-acre lot. A previous development plan called for a lot nearer to the Las Vegas International Airport, but the airport’s executives called on local officials to squelch such a plan.

When completed, the Oakland Raiders would share the stadium with the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels football team. Even if the Raiders’ gain approval from the NFL in the coming league meetings, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board would have final approval on the development plan.