Raiders owner Mark Davis is back in Las Vegas, continuing his often public flirtation with the market and investors looking to build a new, NFL-quality stadium near the Las Vegas strip.
His latest appearance was revealed on Friday afternoon, when the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which would lead the discussed stadium development project, tweeted a photo of Davis with UNLV power players. The Vegas stadium would also house the UNLV football team.
This visit is the latest of several trips to Las Vegas to discuss stadium prospects and the possibility of finding a new home in Sin City. Davis’ link to Vegas was highlighted in late January, shortly after the NFL decided the Rams’ Inglewood project was chosen over the Raiders-Chargers option in Carson at a special meeting in Houston.
The Raiders have the second option to join the Rams in L.A., only if the Chargers choose to stay in San Diego. There has been little progress on a new stadium in the East Bay and, with the Raiders continuing on a recently approved one-year lease at Oakland Coliseum, Davis continues looking toward Las Vegas.
Davis has met with Las Vegas Sands brass, local politicians and now members of the school expected to be beneficiaries of a new facility.
There is some question about whether Las Vegas is a viable NFL market, considering the league’s aversion to sports gambling. That style of betting is legal in Nevada.
There have been mixed sentiments on Las Vegas as an NFL option. Some owners seem in favor of that market, while others say that moving there would be difficult.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Davis’ flirtation with Las Vegas and the market’s viability during last week’s owners meetings.
“Mark Davis is appropriately looking at all of his alternatives,” Goodell said. “We were very open about that when we were in Houston and we made the decision to return the Rams to Los Angeles. Both for San Diego and Oakland. They need to evaluate those alternatives. I think their ultimate decision is a long ways off. There are several cities that have a tremendous interest in the Raiders. I'm hopeful also that Oakland will be one of those and that we can avoid any relocation to start with.
“Those are ultimately decisions about where they go and the impact that the potential gambling that we'd have to deal with. We'd have to understand it, we'd have to understand what the impact is on us and ultimately each owner would have a vote on that.”
Goodell was then asked if an open mind towards Las Vegas and it sports gambling associations represented a change in thinking for the league.
“That would be a factor that I think many owners would have to balance, the league would have to balance,” Goodell said, “but until we got a hard proposal that really put that in front of us, we'd have to understand what the ramifications of that are.”
Here’s the latest photo of Davis with power brokers in Las Vegas.