The Oakland Raiders continue to inch closer to relocating to Las Vegas. On Wednesday, Raiders owner Mark Davis told reporters that he plans to file for relocation to Sin City in January.
If Davis follows through, that means the only major remaining hurdle to clear is ownership approval; according to NFL rules, 24 of the league’s 32 owners must vote in favor of relocation.
Last week, the Nevada legislature greenlighted a proposal to use $750 million in public funding to build a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat stadium that the Raiders and UNLV football team would share in Las Vegas. The rest of the money would come from billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who said he’ll contribute $650 million, and the Raiders, who say they’ll put up $500 million themselves.
In May 2015, Oakland mayor Libby Schaff said her city would not offer any public subsidies to pay for a new stadium.
This looks like another classic case of the two choices a city faces when one of its sports teams needs a new stadium:
- Pony up hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars, despite overwhelming evidence that new stadiums don’t do much in the way of generating economic growth for the area.
- Lose your franchise to another city that is willing to do so.
There’s a long way to go until January. Maybe something changes. But right now, Davis sounds adamant about moving the Raiders to Las Vegas.
It’d be sad to see a team that has so much history in Oakland leave. And it’d also be weird as hell to watch the Denver Broncos, one of the Raiders’ AFC West foes, make an annual trip to Las Vegas to play football.