Roger Goodell spoke for the first time about the possibility of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas since the first vote for public funding took place. The matter now goes to the Nevada legislature. Goodell said all the right things again. He doesn’t want to move a team out of Oakland. This would be the second time Oakland lost the Raiders and Goodell said he didn’t want a team to leave a market twice — apparently he forgot St. Louis lost the Cardinals and the Rams. He thinks Oakland is still a strong market. There are a lot of other things that need to fall in place before Las Vegas could even be considered. Goodell is saying this because he has to, the NFL in Sin City is picking up steam.
The good news for everyone on the outside is we will know if the Raiders even have the option to move to Las Vegas whenever the state assembly votes on funding. One of the major financial backers, billionaire Sheldon Adelson of Sands, has essentially said if there isn’t $750 million worth of public money going to the stadium then it’s not being built. The state assembly can spin the public funding as a tourist tax since Nevada residents won’t be directly taxed on what would be earmarked to fund the stadium. The public money will come from people outside of the state through increase hotel taxes. This is very similar to the San Diego Chargers ballot measure.
That means Goodell needs to stress that Las Vegas and Nevada have a lot more to do before the city is even considered by owners. At this point we have seen that NFL owners are interested in profit. If that means making the Raiders franchise worth more money in Las Vegas versus Oakland, then relocation will happen. Everything the Raiders and Las Vegas have to do means the city needs to basically do everything the NFL requests.
Once this gets to a NFL vote it would be hard to see the owners voting it down. Owners won’t turn down $750 million in public money versus zero dollars in Oakland. They will love the market and the exposure. They will get over any gambling concerns. Basically the ball is in the Nevada state assembly’s court.