OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The Oakland Raiders have officially filed paperwork with the National Football League to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas, according to a Clark County Commissioner.
Commissioner Steve Sisolak tweeted that it was “official” on Thursday morning.
Sisolak told The Associated Press on Thursday that he had spoken with the Raiders. He is part of an 11-member panel that was appointed by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to study plans for a proposal backed by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., to build a domed stadium to lure the Raiders to town.
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“I am happy to see the process moving forward, and greatly appreciate the commitment of the Raiders and work of the Adelson family to the hope of making Las Vegas the home of the Raiders,” Sisolak said.
A short time later, the NFL issued a statement confirming the Raiders had submitted the relocation paperwork.
“The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks,” the league said. “The relocation of a franchise requires the affirmative vote of three-quarters of the NFL clubs (24 of 32).”
The Raiders announcement comes during the greatest shuffling of NFL team location in the league’s history. The Rams relocated to Los Angeles last year and just last week the San Diego Chargers also announced they also want to move their franchise to Los Angeles and share a yet-to-be-built stadium with the Rams.
Just last week, owner Mark Davis met with league’s stadium and finance committees for about 3½ hours to discuss the Raiders relocation.
The fact-finding meetings mostly centered on the Raiders’ plan for a potential move to Las Vegas. But no filings for relocation were made.
And no decisions were planned nor made at the meeting, in which all members of the two committees took part, some by teleconference.
Those owners are finance Chairman Bob McNair of Houston, along with Atlanta’s Arthur Blank, Tampa Bay’s Joel Glazer, Kansas City’s Clark Hunt, Indianapolis’ Jim Irsay, Jacksonville’s Shahid Khan, New England’s Robert Kraft, Philadelphia’s Jeffrey Lurie and Miami’s Steve Ross.
Participating from the stadium committee were chairman Art Rooney of Pittsburgh, Arizona’s Michael Bidwill, the Jets’ Woody Johnson, Dallas’ Stephen Jones, Chicago’s George H. McCaskey and San Francisco’s Jed York.
The owners did talk about possible relocation fees, though Rooney said no specific numbers were discussed.
Much of the meeting was taken up with the Raiders presenting financial updates.
Rooney and league executive Eric Grubman said there was no discussion of Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson’s potential role in the Raiders’ relocation.
Rooney noted the NFL’s “league rules and policies,” which would prohibit a casino owner from having ownership of a franchise.
“It would have to be in compliance with our rules,” Rooney said.
The original deadline was Jan. 15. Because that was a Sunday and Monday was a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the NFL moved back the deadline until Tuesday. The league initiated the move.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Thursday that Oakland remains the better option for the Oakland Raiders despite the team moving forward with plans to relocate to Las Vegas.
Schaaf said the move came as no surprise as she inherited years of frustration from the Raiders when she took office and only recently has Oakland put a viable plan on the table with a specified funding source.
“We know that Oakland offers something Las Vegas never will and that is legacy and loyalty,” she said. “Like me, the Raiders were born and raised in Oakland.”
The Raiders have been seeking a new stadium for years. For the last several months, the team has been talking to officials in Nevada about
potentially building a stadium in Las Vegas, eventually getting a commitment of up to $750 million in new hotel tax revenue for the project from the Nevada state Legislature.
Schaaf has vowed not to use public money for the construction of a new stadium, though did propose a deal that would provide $200 million in unspecified infrastructure costs.
That proposal, which would be largely bankrolled by an investment group headed by former San Francisco 49ers star Ronnie Lott, was approved by the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors last month, but so far the team has shown little interest in it.
The Lott group released a statement Thursday saying that the application to relocate was an expected move by the Raiders in order to keep
their options open, but the Lott group said they remain “diligently focused” on keeping the Raiders in Oakland.
They said they will be providing more data about their proposal to the team and the NFL.
“The more we work on this project, the more convinced we are that Oakland is the right place for the Raiders,” officials with the Lott group said in the statement.
“In one of the top 5 markets in the country, with a new, world-class stadium and an updated transit hub, we believe the Oakland Coliseum site will be one of the very best mixed use developments/sports complex in the country — providing superior value and fan experience to the Raiders and the NFL,” they said.
Schaaf said she expects the city to be able to give a presentation to the NFL before the owners take a vote on the plan to move the team to Las Vegas. Oakland previously had an opportunity to make a case before the Raiders’ bid to move to the Los Angeles area and share a stadium with the San Diego Chargers.
If the move to Las Vegas is approved, the Raiders’ departure could mark an exodus for Oakland sports teams, with the Golden State Warriors breaking ground earlier this week on a new arena in San Francisco. The Oakland A’s have also been seeking for years to relocate, but bids to move to Fremont and San Jose have been fruitless.
The group Save Oakland Sports started a petition on urging the NFL to reject the Raiders’ application and to keep the team in
Oakland, arguing that the team is well-supported financially, selling out every game in the team’s resurgent 2016 season.
The petition had nearly 1,300 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
Representatives of the Raiders did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.
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