Los Angeles (AFP) - NFL team owners granted conditional approval on Monday to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, the league announced, setting up the third franchise relocation in 14 months.
The vote was 31-1 to approve the move, with the Miami Dolphins reportedly the only no vote.
The Raiders needed support from at least 24 of 32 club owners to make the move, which follows the St. Louis Rams return to Los Angeles in January 2016 and the San Diego Chargers move to Los Angeles this past January.
"We believe we, and the Raiders, have worked earnestly for over a decade to find a viable option in Oakland," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We believe we went the extra mile to find that solution in Oakland.
"We're particularly disappointed for the fans. We worked as tirelessly and as hard as we could to try to find that solution. We just couldn't get that done."
Raiders owner Mark Davis said the team would play the 2017 and 2018 seasons in Oakland to complete its stadium lease deal and have looked at a university stadium in Las Vegas for 2019 ahead of the expected 2020 opening of a new $1.9 billion (1.75bn euros) domed stadium near the Vegas Strip.
"The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA," Davis said. "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."
- 'I feel the pain' -
The split deeply touched Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who led the team to a 12-4 season and their first playoff game since losing the 2003 Super Bowl.
"I am overwhelmed with emotion," Carr said on Twitter. "I don't know how we should feel. I feel the pain of our fans in Oakland. I also see the joy on the faces of our new fans in Las Vegas.
"As players, we will show up and give everything we have, we will compete and we will do our best to bring a championship to the entire Raider Nation."
A last-minute revamped stadium pitch from Oakland city leaders was not enough to convince owners to delay their vote in favor of more talks with Oakland about staying.
"The opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving... greatness," Davis said.
- 'Premier location' -
The Raiders were founded in Oakland in 1960, moved to Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994, then went back to Oakland and now become the second major sports team in the US gambling haven.
Where concerns over betting ties once shied away pro sports clubs, the allure of new venues and rich sponsors has the NFL following the National Hockey League's expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play next October in a new arena.
"Las Vegas has always been one of the most popular destination cities in the world," Knights chairman Bill Foley said. "It's now emerging as a premier location for major league professional sports."
The Chargers departed San Diego after 57 years for lack of a new stadium and the Raiders had the same motivation.
"For two years we have tried to find a solution in Oakland. But we weren't able to," said Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.
Nevada lawmakers will put $750 million in taxpayer funding toward the new stadium with the NFL and Raiders chipping in $500 million and Bank of America providing the remainder.