The on-again, off-again move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas appears to be very much on again, if recent reports on several fronts are accurate. The NFL has apparently established the relocation fee the Raiders must pay, and owners could be voting to approve the move as soon as next Monday.
The NFL’s league meetings begin Sunday in Phoenix, and in addition to the usual questions about officiating and gameday tweaks, the league’s owners may consider the Raiders’ petition to move to Las Vegas. The MMQB’s Albert Breer is reporting that the Raiders will have to pay a relocation fee of $325 million to $375 million, not an insubstantial sum but far less than the $650 million the Rams and Chargers paid in recent years to bolt for Los Angeles.
The Raiders’ deal appeared to be in trouble after investors Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs withdrew planned funding, but Bank of America stepped into the breach and agreed to finance the stadium in connection with Las Vegas’s $750 million guarantee. The financing, combined with the city of Oakland’s reluctance to contribute significant sums of public money for a new stadium, appear to be sufficient to convince a three-quarters majority of NFL owners that a Raiders move to Vegas is a viable prospect. That vote could come as soon as Monday, according to CBS Sports. This, despite the fact that a new stadium in Vegas wouldn’t be ready until 2019 at the earliest.
Bottom line: the move leaves the NFL without two longtime, population-rich, passionate, diverse markets in San Diego and Oakland. While those markets will be dangled for years to come in the face of any team that doesn’t pony up for a new stadium deal, the departures nonetheless leave holes in two traditional football strongholds.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.