NFL owners approved a vote allowing the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas at the annual owners meeting in Phoenix. The vote was passed 31-1 with the only vote against the move coming from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
The Raiders will play 2017 and 2018 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, their home from 1966 to 1981 and the 22 years since returning from Los Angeles.
Relocation is big deal in the National Football League. Two-thirds majority of the NFL’s owners (24) were required to allow the Raiders move. This was the third time in a little more than a year that the NFL’s owners approved a team’s relocation.
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The former St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Raiders filed relocation paperwork to Los Angeles at the conclusion of the 2015 regular season. After a round of negotiations and several votes, the Rams announced their intent to move back to Los Angeles, ending their 21-year stay in the Gateway City.
On Jan. 12, the Chargers announced their plans to relocate to Los Angeles for the 2017 season, giving the nation’s second most populous city two NFL franchises for the first time since the Raiders and Rams departed in 1995.
Relocation also means big bucks for the NFL’s owners. The NFL charges a fee to any franchise that relocates. The relocation fee is then split among the other 31 franchises. When the Rams and Chargers relocated, their fee was $650 million. The Raiders will not have to pay as much for a move to Las Vegas—somewhere between $325 and $375 million.
Relocations are not official until a team begins play in their new stadium. The Rams and Chargers will share Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park beginning in 2019 and the Raiders hope to move into their permanent Las Vegas home in 2020. The payments will start to come in way before then, if they haven’t already.
Each team is expected to collect more than $53 million once all the payments come in.
Relocation is a costly endeavor for the team packing their bags but a windfall for the other 31 teams and their owners.
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