Los Angeles (AFP) - NFL team owners are expected to consider allowing the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas at the league's annual meetings, which begin on Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona.
A posting on the league's website said the matter is slated for a vote on Monday after another presentation from the Raiders, who would relocate to a proposed $1.9 billion (1.75 billion euros) domed stadium with 65,000 seats in the US gambling capital.
The Raiders would need approval from 24 of 32 club owners to make the move from the San Francisco Bay area, where they share a 50-year-old venue with Major League Baseball's Oakland A's, the only such shared stadium in America.
With just over 35,000 seats for baseball and 56,000 for the NFL, it ranks as the second-smallest venue in both leagues.
Oakland city leaders have made several pitches for a new stadium, the latest on Friday when former NFL player Ronnie Lott went public with a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with plans and financing for a new venue adjacent to the current stadium.
"We're not giving up in the fourth quarter," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.
But the plan is similar to prior offers and none of those were considered viable by Raiders owner Mark Davis, who lost out in a bid to relocate to Los Angeles just over a year ago.
Over the last year, both the Rams and Chargers, respectively from St. Louis and San Diego, have moved to Los Angeles, where they will eventually share a new state-of-the-art facility.
With anticipated ownership approval, the Raiders would play their 2017 and 2018 seasons as lame ducks in Oakland to complete their lease while their new home is being prepared.
They would then pack up and move to Las Vegas with an interim home at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas for 2019 before their new home near the Las Vegas Strip would be ready in 2020.
The vote could be delayed until NFL meetings in May over relocation fee issues.
While the Rams and Chargers paid $650 million to call Los Angeles home, the Raiders might pay around half as much given the smaller market size of Las Vegas likely not providing the same boost in franchise value the other NFL clubs received.
A lease deal with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board must also be secured for the new venue.
Davis applied to move the Raiders to Las Vegas in January, with the stadium deal to include $750 million in public funding plus $500 million from the Raiders and the NFL, mainly from personal seat licenses and a $650 million construction loan from Bank of America.
- 'Viable option' -
It would mark the second time the Raiders have left Oakland, having relocated to Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994.
"To rip this team away from Oakland for a second time would be heartbreaking and entirely unnecessary given that we have a viable option on the table," Lott said.
But the NFL has asked Oakland to cut the current lease for the A's so that any new venue in what is now parking space for the current stadium would not have a neighboring ballpark.
The letter from Schaff and Lott to Goodell called that "a very problematic request" and added "our opinion is that we do not need to choose between the A's and the Raiders", declaring that they have "a superior proposal at a proven site in a much stronger market".
It also featured a pitch to NFL club owners, saying: "We recognize the Raiders will only come to the table if they are encouraged by the NFL and fellow league owners to engage with us in an effort to stay and play in a new stadium."