Are the Raiders really moving to Las Vegas?

The Oakland Raiders have filed the necessary paperwork to relocate, but will they really be moving to Las Vegas?

Speculation about the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas is not new, and Los Angeles is now not officially not an option with the San Diego Chargers’ recent relocation. Ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline to file the proper relocation paperwork with the league, the Raiders have done so.

Steve Sisolak is the chairman of the Clark County (NV) Commission. He’s part of a 11-person panel appointed by Nevada governor Brian Sandoval to review the Raiders’ $1.9 billion proposal for a domed stadium in Las Vegas. The proposal has the backing of billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The Raiders relocation will now be subject to a vote by NFL owners, with 24 of 32 votes required for the move to go through. The next round of league meetings is scheduled for March in Arizona, so it’s assumed the relocation matter and subsequent vote will be at the top of the agenda for the owners. The Raiders move to Las Vegas will never get off the ground without the required votes in favor of it, unless owner Mark Davis goes rogue like his father did.

There’s also the crucial matter of how the Raiders’ stadium in Las Vegas will be paid for. The current financial proposal for the 65,000 seat facility includes $750 million from hotel tax revenue, $650 million from Adelson and $500 million from the Raiders and the NFL.

The stadium situation for the Raiders in Oakland is the worst in the NFL, since they share their home with the Oakland Athletics. Any possibility for that to change anytime soon looks unlikely, so Davis has turned his eye to Las Vegas over the last year or so.

The stigma of a major American pro sports team in Las Vegas will be removed next season when the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights begin play. But the Raiders will be a far better test case for the viability of Vegas as a sports town, for better or worse, and if things proceed as hoped the 2020 season looks like the beginning of a new market for the NFL.

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