Oakland Raiders will move to Las Vegas after NFL owners approve relocation

Telegraph Sport
Bay Area NFL fans will be devastated by the news - EPA

Invoking his father Al's name, and aping what he did with his team, Mark Davis is moving the NFL's Raiders out of Oakland.

NFL owners approved the Raiders' move to Las Vegas 31-1 at the league meetings Monday. Miami was the lone dissenter.

"My father used to say the greatness of the Raiders is in the future," Davis said. "This gives us the ability to achieve that."

The vote was a foregone conclusion after the league and Raiders were left unsatisfied with Oakland's proposals for a new stadium, and Las Vegas stepped up with $750 million in public money. Bank of America also is giving Davis a $650 million loan, further helping to persuade owners to allow the third team relocation in just over a year.

The Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016, and in January the Chargers relocated from San Diego to LA.

"You know our goal is to have 32 stable franchises for each team and the league," Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We work very hard and never want to see the relocation of a franchise.

"We worked tirelessly over the last nine months or so on a solution. We needed to provide certainties and stability for the Raiders and the league."

The Raiders, whose relocation fee of approximately $350 million is less than the $650 million the Rams and Chargers paid, likely will play two or three more years in the Bay Area before their $1.7 billion stadium near the Las Vegas Strip is ready.

"I wouldn't use the term lame duck," Davis insisted. "We're still the Raiders and we represent Raider Nation.

"There will be disappointed fans and it's important for me to talk to them to explain why and how."

Las Vegas, long taboo to the NFL because of its legalised gambling, is also getting an NHL team this autumn, the Golden Knights.

"Today will forever change the landscape of Las Vegas and UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) football," said Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission and a former member of a panel appointed by Nevada governor Brian Sandoval to study the stadium tax funding plan. "I couldn't be more excited for the fans and residents of Clark County as we move forward with the Raiders and the Rebels."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and a group trying to keep the team in Oakland made a last-ditch presentation to the NFL last week. But that letter was "filled with uncertainty," according to Goodell.

On Monday she asked owners to delay the vote, wanting to give her city a chance to negotiate with a small group of owners to complete a stadium deal at their current Coliseum site.

"Never that we know of has the NFL voted to displace a team from its established market when there is a fully financed option before them with all the issues addressed," Schaaf said in a statement. "I'd be remiss if I didn't do everything in my power to make the case for Oakland up until the very end."

Schaaf said the city presented a $1.3 billion plan for a stadium that would be ready by 2021. She said the existing Coliseum would be demolished by 2024, with the Oakland Athletics baseball team either moving to a new stadium at the Coliseum site or somewhere else in the city.

But the presence of the A's in that sports complex was particularly troubling to the NFL, Goodell said.

"We understand the Raiders' need for a new stadium," A's President Dave Kaval said. "Oakland is an incredible sports town and we would be sorry to see them leave. We commend the city's and county's efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The mayor and her team have worked incredibly hard to save the franchise.

"We are focused on, and excited about, our efforts to build a new ballpark in Oakland and look forward to announcing a location this year."

The Raiders' move became more certain this month when Bank of America offered the loan. That replaced the same amount the Raiders lost when the league balked at having casino owner Sheldon Adelson involved and he was dropped from the team's plans.

Raiders owner Mark Davis smiles as he steps up to the podium during the announcement of his team's move Credit: AP

Davis on Monday thanked Adelson for his "vision and leadership," saying the entire deal might not have happened without him.

The Raiders have left the Bay Area once before, playing in Los Angeles from 1982-94 before heading back to Oakland. Davis was passed over last year in an attempt to move to a stadium in the LA area that would have been jointly financed with the Chargers.

Instead, the owners approved the Rams' relocation and gave the Chargers an option to join them, which they exercised this winter.

Now, it's off to the desert for the Raiders. Well, in a few years.

"The opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world," Davis said, "is a significant step toward achieving that greatness."

New stadiums what happens next?

 

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes