– By Sabrina S. Siracusa
With football season over, fans have shifted their attention to the ongoing saga of the potential move of the National Football League’s Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. In the last issue of Vegas Legal Magazine, we discussed the likelihood of Las Vegas becoming part of the NFL franchise. Everything seemed hopeful; but as with any change, chaos is almost always certain before acceptance. Since then, the ball has been rolling, although not in a direct path toward its goal. Here’s what Raiders Nation and the city of Las Vegas thinks about one of the most exciting and challenging relocations of a NFL team.
Bail Out from Big Investors
Anyone following the Raiders Nation relocation knows that major investors Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs are out…but all is not lost. Vegas kingpin Adelson did provide vital political influence that dramatically helped the Raiders secure the world’s largest stadium public subsidy ($750 million); and since then, Raiders president Marc Badain told the authority board in February that the team was already in discussions with “multiple financial institutions” that are willing to fill the void left by Adelson’s departure.
Will The Bay Area Put Its Money Where Its Mouth Is?
The reality is that Alameda County politicians have shown no inclination to build the Raiders a new stadium, even after years of discussions. When the Raiders recently filed for permission to move to Las Vegas, in a statement that came close to puffery, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff told the Sports Business Journal, “Oakland has something no other city ever will: a die-hard fan base that is loyal and true to the Raiders and wants to see them stay here in Oakland where they were founded. Only Oakland brings the Raiders and the NFL a competitive stadium proposal, along with legacy and loyalty.”
In the same interview, Schaff stated that the Oakland City Council had accomplished so much by identifying the mechanisms to responsibly finance public infrastructure improvements, including a private partner prepared to finance a new stadium. It is very unlikely that Mark Davis will allow this competition to occur, and the mayor more than likely knows this. Perhaps Oakland needs to create the impression that it did all it could to keep the Raiders, even if there is no way it will ever be able to do enough. At this point the Bay Area needs a Hail Mary to keep the Raiders in Oakland.
Vegas Mayor Supports the Raiders Relocation
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman thinks the money will show. In a recent LA Times article, Mayor Goodman noted that the timing is right to bring an NFL team to the market, and stated that she let the Raiders know the city was doing everything in its power to help salvage the deal. She also told the LA Times that she would like a stadium built Downtown, and that she has received calls from several groups interested in helping finance the project.
“If there’s a team out there that wants to relocate and this one doesn’t work out, we’re ready,” said Goodman in the article. “In my opinion, it will happen.”
Much like any good football game, the players and strategy are important to the outcome. The Raiders owner is highly motivated to move the team to Las Vegas and football fans in Las Vegas are open to the Raiders relocation. Some gripe that it will cause more traffic congestion, but Vegas has been through much worse. After all, Vegas is a city that has seen it all, from mobster-ruled casinos to the legalization of recreational marijuana. Sin City can handle anything that comes its way.
NFL owners will meet in March to vote on the Raiders relocation plan. Oakland will need 25 of the owners’ 32 votes to see their plan officially approved by the NFL.
Sabrina Siracusa is Las Vegas-based freelance copywriter. With an undergraduate degree in Psychology and an ABA Paralegal Certificate, Siracusa is currently the publications specialist for the State Bar of Nevada. Learn more about Siracusa and her work at www.writergirl.biz.