Las Vegas is on the verge of landing an National Football League team. The Raiders could be skipping out on Oakland and coming to a brand-new stadium in Sin City. Here’s what you need to know about the team’s potential relocation.
1. When will the NFL vote on the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas?
The NFL owners are scheduled to meet March 26-29 in Phoenix. This could finally be the moment that the relocation vote makes the agenda. But the $750 million in public funding provided by Nevada doesn’t expire until April 2018, so the NFL can take its time deciding on the team’s future. Raiders owner Mark Davis will need 24 of the 32 owners to vote in favor to move his team to Southern Nevada.
2. Will the NFL owners approve?
All signs point to yes. But nothing is final in the NFL until the official vote happens. The city has ponied up a record amount in public funding through an increase to the hotel room tax. That’s something the NFL doesn’t want to turn down. Meanwhile, Oakland has been working on a new stadium plan with a third-party group led by former NFL player Ronnie Lott, despite the NFL’s desire to eliminate third parties from these types of deals.
3. When will the Raiders come to town?
According to the timeline presented at Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee meetings, the stadium would be ready for the 2020 season. They have options to extend their lease at Oakland Coliseum for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. That opens the door for a possible one-year stay in 2019 at Sam Boyd Stadium, the current home of UNLV football.
4. Where will the new stadium be?
The Raiders are expected to push for it to be built on the west side of I-15 across from Mandalay Bay. The Bali Hai golf course south of Mandalay Bay remains a possible location, while Mayor Carolyn Goodman continues to tout Cashman Center as a cheaper alternative.
5. How much will it cost?
There is no hard number, but projected costs say $1.9 billion. Since Davis doesn’t have an expendable $1 billion, he’ll be taking out loans: The NFL will provide a low-interest loan of $200 million and Bank of America is expected to pitch in for casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s withdrawn $650 million contribution—earlier this year the team presented a lease proposal to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority without his knowledge or involvement, which instigated his back out. The remaining costs will come from the revenue of season ticket holders.
6. Can the Raiders pay off all these loans?
This is the question for the NFL to consider. If Davis defaults on his loans, the NFL would likely have to bail him out and find a new owner. It all comes down to how much money the Raiders make off the stadium. During the SNTIC meetings—when Adelson was still involved—the developers were expecting it to generate $22 million annually. That means more than 40 years to pay off $1 billion.
7. Will the stadium create a positive economic impact?
This is the question for Las Vegas. For the public money to be worthwhile, the stadium needs to attract new visitors. New being the key word. A tourist deciding to see a Raiders game rather than gamble on the Strip won’t be generating new economic activity, because they were already planning to spend the money.