PHOENIX – The Raiders got the official OK to relocate to Las Vegas as NFL owners reportedly voted 31-1 on Monday in approval of the franchise’s move from Oakland, Calif., a place the team has called home for 45 of its 58 seasons of existence in the AFL and NFL. The Raiders needed 24 of 32 votes to win approval.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report the vote, with the lone dissent coming from the Miami Dolphins.
In a somewhat somber tone, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed regret at not finding a solution that kept the team in Oakland.
“We needed to provide certainty and stability for the Raiders, as well as the league,” Goodell told reporters in a news conference.
In a statement, Raiders owner Mark Davis said, “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.”
The vote, held at the league’s annual spring meetings, wasn’t a surprise. On Friday, Goodell called a recent $1.3 billion stadium proposal from Oakland civic and business leaders insufficient and not a “viable solution.” That proposal was competing against a $1.9 billion plan from Las Vegas, which included $750 million in public financing.
The Raiders have long been unhappy with its current home, the Oakland Coliseum, a venue it shares with Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics. They tried to bolt Northern California in 2016 to join the Chargers in a shared stadium plan based in Carson, Calif., but league owners passed on that proposal, instead favoring the Rams’ bid in Inglewood. In January, the Chargers ended up joining the Rams in the Los Angeles area, agreeing to move from San Diego and share a home with the Rams.
Las Vegas had run hot and cold in attaining the Raiders, looking like a near lock when billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson backed a deal that included $650 million from his own pockets. Adelson, however, pulled out in January, leaving the Raiders’ Las Vegas venture in limbo until Bank of America stepped in to back the plan.
Stadium plans in Las Vegas call for a 65,000-seat domed arena, located near The Strip.
The Raiders will still be called the “Oakland Raiders” until they move to Las Vegas, Goodell said. Davis added that he was also looking into potentially staying in Oakland through the 2019 season before the new stadium is ready.