It’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’ For Raiders; Heartbreak For Oakland Fans

OAKLAND (CBS SF & AP) — The NFL team owners approved the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas Monday, the second time in team history that Oakland fans have had their hearts broken by an announcement the team was leaving.

The team needed at least 24 of 32 owners to approve the move to a $1.7 billion stadium in Las Vegas that will be ready for play in 2020.

They received 31 votes in favor with just the Miami Dolphins opposing the move.

Related: Complete Coverage Of Raiders Move

“We work very hard and never want to see the relocation of a franchise that means exhausting our options and doing everything we can to get a solution in the existing market,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “As you know there has been a stadium situation in Oakland that we felt needed to be addressed. Our friends in Oakland knew it needed to be resolved…This has been an issued well over a decade. We believe we (the NFL) and the Raiders have worked earnestly in Oakland for over a decade to find that viable option.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis said Oakland would always be in the Raiders DNA.

“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.” Davis said in a prepared statement.

“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.”

Goodell said he had spoken to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf right after the vote and thanked her for her efforts. “She was disappointed,” Goodell said.

While there was sadness in Oakland, there was joy in Las Vegas.

“Today will forever change the landscape of Las Vegas and UNLV football,” said Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission and a former member of a panel appointed by the Nevada Gov. 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,” Sisolak said.

Monday’s vote came after Oakland officials and Raiders fans mounted what they called a ‘Hail Mary’ effort to keep the team in the Bay Area.

“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 has presented a $1.3 billion plan for a stadium at the Coliseum site that would be ready by 2021. She says 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 a letter to Schaaf last week, Goodell told the Oakland mayor the city’s proposal had too many unknowns in it.

The Raiders abandoned their Oakland fans the first time in 1982 when they moved to Los Angeles, where they won a Super Bowl title.

They came “home” in 1995 to Oakland when officials put up $200 million to renovate the Coliseum and fund for a new practice facility.

The Raiders become the second pro franchise in Las Vegas, following the NHL’s Golden Knights, who begin play in the fall in an already-built arena.

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