NEW YORK -- NFL owners voted 31-1 in favor of the Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
— City of Las Vegas (@CityOfLasVegas) March 27, 2017
The move has been anticipated for months. The Raiders received about $750 million from Nevada taxpayers last year to build a stadium in Las Vegas, and team owner Mark Davis is putting up $500 million. Bank of America has committed to financing the rest.
“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," Davis stated Monday.
“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.”
The stadium, expected to cost $1.9 billion, would open in 2020. The Raiders would stay in Oakland in the meantime.
It would be the third NFL franchise move in recent years. The Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, and the former San Diego Chargers will move to Los Angeles for the 2017 season.
The city of Oakland presented a last-minute proposal on Friday for a $1.3 billion stadium in hopes of keeping the team. But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was not impressed. He wrote back that the plan wasn't "clear and specific" or "actionable in a reasonable timeframe."
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf sent another letter Sunday to make the case.
"The NFL is more than a business," the mayor wrote. "You have an obligation to recognize that professional football teams are the lifeblood, culture and identity of the places where they play."
The Raiders will have to get 24 votes from league owners, a three-quarters majority, to move.
It originally looked like a long shot. The NFL is known for being conservative, especially on gambling, which is legal in Las Vegas. The league has refused to run Super Bowl ads from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
But with Oakland unable to secure taxpayer financing, relocation to Vegas has begun to look more likely.
The move would bolster efforts by Las Vegas to become a destination for professional sports. An NHL expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, will begin play next season. And Vegas has long been a host of big-name boxing bouts and UFC matches.