In a major step toward bringing the NFL's Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee voted Thursday to allow a $750 million public investment in a proposed $2 billion team stadium, Las Vegas Now reported.
The committee's unanimous vote paves the way for Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to call a special legislative session that must approve the room-tax-funded, multimillion-dollar spend before he will formally sign off on it. The Raiders are kicking in $500,000, and partner Las Vegas Sands Corp. is putting up the balance, according to CBS Sports. The estimated annual $35 million in taxes raised on stadium grounds will cover its operating expenses.
- NFL owners, who historically have not been keen on locating a franchise in or near a city with legalized gambling on the scale of the Las Vegas Strip, are the last step in the approval process. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would not try to prevent the move, CBS reported. Regardless, the relocation won't happen without a nod from at least 24 of the 32 franchise owners at their next meeting in January.
Last month, the Raiders released their plans for the proposed 65,000-seat, $1.9 billion new stadium in Las Vegas. Construction for the MANICA Architecture-designed stadium would cost $1.3 billion, and the team estimates an annual $100 million "exposure value" for the city of Las Vegas.
The funding approval represents a victory for the Raiders, who, with the Sands Corp., had previously told the committee that the team would not move to Las Vegas unless it could count on $750 million in public backing. Still, there remains dissension from some local officials who said that the burden of financing should fall on the state and not Clark County, where Las Vegas is located. In the past, committee members have said that it is not up to them to give final approval for the stadium deal, but their decisions are thought to hold sway with the state legislature.
The Raiders were denied a move to Los Angeles by the NFL owners at their last meeting in favor of a new stadium there to be shared by the former St. Louis Rams and possibly the San Diego Chargers. This summer, the Los Angeles Rams chose the joint venture of Turner Construction and Hunt Construction to build the team's nearly $3 billion stadium in Inglewood, CA, designed by Dallas-based HKS Architects. The Chargers have a funding measure pending in this November's elections that will determine whether they will build a new stadium in San Diego or share the Rams' new venue.