PHOENIX (AP) — NFL owners approved the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas at the league meetings Monday.
The vote was a foregone conclusion after the league and Raiders were not satisfied with Oakland’s proposals for a new stadium, and Las Vegas stepped up with $750 million in public money. Bank of America also is giving Raiders owner Mark Davis a $650 million loan, further helping to persuade owners to allow the third team relocation in just over a year.
Owners voted 31-1 to approve the move, with the Miami Dolphins opposed.
The Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016, and in January the Chargers relocated from San Diego to LA. The Raiders likely will play two or three more years in the Bay Area before their $1.7 billion stadium near the Las Vegas strip is ready.
Las Vegas, long taboo to the NFL because of its legalized gambling, also is getting an NHL team this fall, the Golden Knights.
“Today will forever change the landscape of Las Vegas and UNLV football,” said Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission and a former member of a panel appointed by the Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to study the stadium tax funding plan.
“I couldn’t be more excited for the fans and residents of Clark County as we move forward with the Raiders and the Rebels,” Sisolak said.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and a group trying to keep the team in Oakland, made a last-ditch presentation to the NFL last week. But that letter was “filled with uncertainty,” according to Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Monday, she asked the 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,” Mayor Libby 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.”
Schaaf said the city has presented a $1.3 billion plan for a stadium at the Coliseum site that would be ready by 2021. She says the existing Coliseum would be demolished by 2024, with the Oakland Athletics baseball team either moving to a new stadium at the Coliseum site or somewhere else in the city.
The Raiders’ move became more certain this month when Bank of America offered the loan. That replaced the same amount the Raiders lost when the league balked at having casino owner Sheldon Adelson involved and he was dropped from the team’s plans.
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 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. Instead, the owners approved the Rams’ relocation and gave the Chargers an option to join them, which they exercised this winter.
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