Oakland Raiders Receive NFL Approval to Move to Las Vegas in 2020
The Oakland Raiders received approval to move to Las Vegas today. At the NFL owner meetings on Monday, the Raiders received 31 of 32 votes from franchises. The Raiders needed 24 votes in order to relocate.
The Miami Dolphins were the lone dissenter among the NFL teams, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. No reason was stated for the Dolphins’ lack of support, though the National Football League and other major American sports associations traditionally did not want franchises in the nation’s gambling capital.
Raiders to Remain in Oakland through 2018
The Raiders’ Mark Davis plans to keep his franchise in Oakland for the 2017 season, and possibly longer. The State of Nevada is working with the Raiders and Bank of America on building a $1.9 billion home for the team which is not expected to open until 2020. When it does open, the 65,000-seat Las Vegas Stadium will be shared with the football team of nearby UNLV.
Mark Davis, the son of late-Raiders owner Al Davis, holds two 1-year options to remain at the O.com Stadium in Oakland. He has said in the past that he plans to stay in Oakland for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, though he has not told what the plan for 2019 is. He did mention in a statement that the Raiders would like to stay in the Bay Area until their new stadium was built. Davis also mentioned, “We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
Raiders Owner Cites Al Davis’ Words
The Raiders’ latest owner gave his thanks to his fellow NFL owners in a statement after the vote on Monday. He also referred to his father’s original vision for the Oakland Raiders, who are one of the most-recognized franchises in American sports.
Davis said on Monday, “My father always said, ‘the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,’ and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness.”
Mark Davis lost a vote among NFL owners in 2016 to move to the Los Angeles area. Instead, the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers received permission. This time, Davis got the support he needed, so he was effusive in his praise.
Mark Davis Gives Thanks
Davis, who has been the Raiders’ owner since 2012, said to those involved, “I would like to thank Commissioner [Roger] Goodell, the National Football League and my 31 partners. I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature for their commitment. Finally, I would like to thank Sheldon Adelson for his vision and leadership, without which this project never would have become a reality.”
Sheldon Adelson Praised by Davis
Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson was pivotal in getting the Las Vegas stadium initiative off the ground. Adelson pushed for a billion-dollar stadium, gathering Southern Nevada investors and garnering support from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. To get the development plans started because the Raiders ever got involved in the project, Sheldon Adelson and his group offered $600 million towards the project.
Ultimately, Sheldon Adelson left the project, because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several key NFL owners appeared to be uncomfortable with a casino executive being so intimately tied to an NFL stadium. Rumors spread through the sports media earlier this year that Sheldon Adelson might become a minority owner of the Raiders, too. That was a bridge too far for the NFL owners, so Adelson’s role was replaced by Bank of America, which was more palatable to the NFL league office.
Las Vegas Raiders Profile
The Raiders franchise appears ready to compete at a high level for years to come. The team has a core of young stars on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper appear to be among the top young talents at their position, while young edge rusher Khalil Mack was arguably the best defensive player in football last year.
The 2016-2017 Oakland Raiders had a 12-2 record and were poised to be the No. 2 seed in the AFC Playoffs last year, until Derek Carr’s season-ending injury. Without its young passer (or his immediate backup), the team struggled in its final three games. Due to injuries and a hard salary cap, the NFL might be the most unpredictable of all American sports leagues. Despite that, most pundits believe the young core — which has been supplemented with adept veteran free agents like Bruce Irvin, Reggie Nelson, and Michael Crabtree — should be a solid contender over the next few years.
Does the NFL Have a New Attitude towards Sports Betting?
Those who believe the Las Vegas Raiders decision represents a new era in the NFL’s attitude towards legalized sportsbooks should not get their hopes up. The league’s commissioner signaled today he has no interest in changing the NFL’s stance towards sports betting or the PASPA federal law.
In an interview with longtime Sports Illustrated writer Peter King on Monday Morning Quarterback, Roger Goddell said, “We are not changing our position as it relates to legalized sports gambling. We still don’t think it is a positive thing.“