#RaidersToVegas: NFL owners approve Raiders' move to Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - It's official! The Raiders are coming to Nevada.  Thirty-one of the NFL owners voted Monday to approve the Raiders' move to Las Vegas.  Miami was the only "no" vote.

Before the big vote in Phoenix, the Raiders gave a presentation to NFL owners on its proposed move to Las Vegas.

To move the team, the Raiders owner Mark Davis had to get 24 of the 32 NFL owner votes, but as mentioned earlier, he received 31. Davis' closest ally, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, had been the Raiders' most effective salesman.

“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. I would like to thank Commissioner 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.

“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval along with many other local politicians are pleased with the NFL owners' decision.

“This is a monumental day for Las Vegas and the entire State of Nevada," Sandoval said. "I would like to express my gratitude to Mark Davis, the Raiders franchise and the NFL owners for their belief in the potential of our state. I would also like to thank the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, the Legislature, and everyone who worked to make this idea a reality and for their continued due diligence. The Stadium Authority Board will continue its work to finalize the details but the terms of the deal are established into law and no additional taxpayer funds will be expended.” 

“Wow! Our football dreams have come true,” Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said. “First, I would like to thank Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson for their initiative and leadership, which ultimately made today possible. I would also like to thank Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Nevada Legislature, Laborers Local 872, Mark Davis and all the NFL owners who have delivered generations of excitement to every fan of the NFL and Raiders in Nevada. But today’s decision means even more to us here as it will elevate the UNLV football program to never-before-seen heights, create thousands of construction and permanent jobs, and draw tens-of-thousands of new tourists to Southern Nevada. On behalf of all the citizens of Clark County, it is my pleasure to say to the Raiders, Raider Nation and the entire NFL – Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada!”

The Raiders' move to Las Vegas came with the promise of a brand new stadium. 

On Sept. 15, 2016, an oversight committee voted in favor of spending $750 million in public money to help pay for a Las Vegas NFL stadium.  Las Vegas hotel room tax revenues are slated to pay the $750 million toward construction.

Originally, casino magnate and billionaire Sheldon Adelson pledged to $650 million to the project, but in February 2017 he withdrew it.  Earlier this month, Bank of America filled the void left by Adelson in the stadium project's financing for the proposed $1.7 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium. 

The Raiders are expected to pay the remaining $500 million.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and a group trying to keep the team in Oakland, made a last-ditch presentation for a new stadium to the NFL last week, but the letter was "filled with uncertainty," according to Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Monday, she asked owners to delay the vote, wanting to give her city a chance to negotiate with a small group of owners to complete a stadium deal at the Coliseum site.

"Never that we know of has the NFL voted to displace a team from its established market when there is a fully financed option before them with all the issues addressed," Schaaf said in a statement. "I'd be remiss if I didn't do everything in my power to make the case for Oakland up until the very end."

Leaving the Bay Area is not something new with the Raiders, who played in Los Angeles from 1982-94 before heading back to Oakland. Davis was also passed over last year in an attempt to move to a stadium in the LA area that would have been jointly financed with the Chargers. But the owners did not approve that plan.

The Raiders are the third NFL franchise move in just over a year. The Rams played last season in Los Angeles after switching from St. Louis. Earlier this year, the Chargers moved from San Diego to L.A., although they will play in a soccer stadium until the $2.6 billion facility they will share with the Rams is ready in 2019. The Rams are playing in the Los Angeles Coliseum until then.

"You know our goal is to have 32 stable franchises for each team and the league," Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We work very hard and never want to see the relocation of a franchise. We worked tirelessly over the last nine months or so on a solution. We needed to provide certainties and stability for the Raiders and the league."

The Raiders are set to become the second pro franchise in Las Vegas, following the NHL's Golden Knights, who begin play in the fall in an already-built arena.

The Raiders could spend the next two or even three seasons in the Bay Area before the team's stadium in Las Vegas is even ready.

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The Associated Press contributed in the writing of this report.


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