Raiders owner Mark Davis has been to Las Vegas several times in the past few months in search of a long-term stadium solution. Thus far it’s been a lot of exploration and market examination.
Davis could make a verbal commitment to the market.
He will attend a Thursday meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee and, if the meeting goes well, Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report reported that Davis will pledge to pursue relocation to Las Vegas if funding for a new NFL-caliber, $1.3 billion stadium is approved.
That stadium prospect is being discussed at that meeting. The proposal is spearheaded by the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Majestic Realty and be built with public and private financing. Public portions of the financing plan would be filled with taxes on tourists.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the SNTIC will issue recommendations this summer and can’t formally approve the stadium project. Using tax dollars needs approval from the Nevada Legislature, which reportedly won’t convene until Feb. 2017. That’s when formal approval could come down.
The Raiders signed a one-year lease with Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, a deal with two additional one-year extensions built in.
There is no progress to report on building a new NFL stadium in Oakland, to keep the Raiders in the East Bay. Davis has expressed frustration with a lack of progress on that front.
He started exploring Las Vegas in earnest after missing out on the opportunity to relocate to Los Angeles. The St. Louis Rams were allowed to return to L.A., with the Chargers given top priority to join them if efforts to remain in San Diego fall short. The Raiders could move join the Rams’ Inglewood stadium project if the Chargers stay put.
Las Vegas might be a better fit for Davis, who’s adamant a stadium have certain amenities. That includes good ingress, egress, parking and tailgating. He would also have the market to himself, allowing Raiders fans across the country to watch games in a tourist destination.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has been courting Davis to join a 65,000-seat domed stadium prospect near the Las Vegas Strip expected to host UNLV athletics and larger, national events.
The NFL has been weary of Las Vegas relocation due to legalized sports gambling in Nevada. Even if Davis commits to move there, at least 24 NFL owners would have to approve the move. There are some owners staunchly against a Las Vegas move, but there is growing sentiment in the opposite direction.