Rumors are going around in Las Vegas, Nevada, and some are saying that Raiders owner Mark Davis may be taking the Oakland team on permanent vacation. All this comes from a leaked memo from Len Jessup, UNLV President, that said something about team representatives coming to town, and looking around at possible stadium sites. ESPN questioned Davis over the phone to learn more about the possible move, all he could say was “In typical Raider fashion, I can neither confirm nor deny.”
The memo, revealed by Las Vegas journalist Jon Ralston, read as follows.
“Correspondingly, the Sands leadership team let us know that officials from the Oakland Raiders are scheduled to travel to Las Vegas and tour locations around the valley for a potential new home, and they have asked us to meet them at our 42-acre site on Friday morning to answer questions about that site,”
The 42-acre site to which the memo refers may be located on Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane, near McCarran International Airport, which was recently purchased by Sands Corporation.
Davis is set to meet with Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, said Ron Reese, official spokesman for the Sands. The Sands is looking for a public-private partnership to build a 65,000 seat stadium for $1 billion, though it is still unclear as to whether or not this would be for UNLV or a certain professional football team, according to ABC.
This wouldn’t be the first attempt by Davis to move from the Bay area. In an attempt to join the Chargers in a joint stadium deal, Davis was forced to consider other options, and something like that may still happen despite his verbalized intentions to stay in Oakland. Either way, the Raiders are running out of time on the lease for the stadium they currently call home. They are expected to play out the 2016 season in Oakland.
The NFL, according to ESPN, has not been open to allowing Las Vegas to have a team in the past and were reluctant to respond to reporters. This is mostly due to the fact that it is the gambling capital of the country, and the fears of fix-betting are real. The governor, however, is all for it. Brian Sandoval put together a committee to gather new ideas to attract more tourism to the quiet, little town of Las Vegas. He seems to think a world-class stadium would definitely kick things up a notch.
“This town is about so much more than gaming at this point,” said Ron Reese. “We think that stigma is a thing of the pastThe majority of cash-flow has switched from being primarily from gambling to other, non-gambling related activities, according to Sandoval.
There will clearly be major profits, but the potential for fix-betting from a professional team moving into their kingdom doesn’t seem to be a concern.
A stadium in the location of the 42-acre plot is not far from UNLV campus and the school sees no problem sharing with an NFL team at little cost to them. Right now, the Rebels are forced to play nearly nine miles from the school.
“If a public-private partnership can be formed that includes the development of a new special events stadium with little or no cost to UNLV — and we have access to use the facility — then it would be of great value to us,” Len Jessup said in a statement lending credence to his leaked correspondence on the matter.
With plenty of pro sports intrigue happening in and about Vegas, some suspicions about its sordid ways. will they ever get an NFL team is anybody’s guess.
[Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]