The NFL doesn’t want to see the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas or the San Diego Chargers join the Los Angeles Rams in their Inglewood stadium.
Those things might happen if stadiums aren’t built in Oakland or San Diego, but at the owners meetings on Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said again that the NFL does not want the Raiders or Chargers to move.
“We want to keep our teams where they are,” Goodell said in his news conference, which was broadcast on NFL Network. “Relocations are painful and something we want to avoid at all costs.”
The problem is that there aren’t any current stadium solutions in those cities. Oakland and San Diego have had years to figure out a new stadium plan, and very little has happened. A publicly-funded stadium plan in San Diego lost in November’s election. Oakland has unveiled plans this month on a new stadium. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that city and county officials in Oakland approved opening negotiations with an investment group, which includes former NFL defensive back Ronnie Lott, on a $1.3 billion stadium.
Still, Goodell made it clear that no current proposal in Oakland or San Diego satisfies the NFL.
“There’s not a stadium proposal on the table that addresses the long-term issues of the clubs and the communities, so we need to continue to work at it,” Goodell said.
Goodell said he has been in contact with the mayors of those cities, including talking to San Diego’s mayor on Tuesday. The league is hoping for a last-minute solution.
Las Vegas has been a strong suitor for the Raiders for months. Politicians in Nevada have already passed a measure that would allow for $750 million in public funding for a new stadium. However, there are concerns that casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who has pledged a reported $650 million to the project, and Raiders owner Mark Davis are having trouble coming to an agreement according to Pro Football Talk. That dispute could be over partial ownership of the team going to Adelson.
Curiously, Goodell said Wednesday that the owners heard about Las Vegas from one of their analysts of market studies, and Goodell had very positive things to say about the Las Vegas market.
“I would tell you, there were some real strengths to the Las Vegas market,” Goodell said. “It’s clear the Las Vegas market has become a more diversified market, more broadly involved with entertainment and hosting big events. And there’s a growth to the market. You can see the trajectory when you look at the market data, of where it’s going. There are some very positive things in that.”
That could be Goodell’s direct and public message to Oakland that Las Vegas is an attractive market if the Bay Area can’t put together a stadium deal that suits the NFL’s wishes.
The NFL still has to figure out what to do with the Raiders and Chargers, and maybe last-minute deals can be made. The NFL wants to keep them in the cities they’re in now. The league needs to find out soon if that will be possible.
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