The Oakland Raiders potential relocation for Las Vegas took a step back as investment bank Goldman Sachs and casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson both reportedly withdrew from financing the stadium proposal.
Multiple news services reported that Goldman will not pursue the Raiders’ proposed $1.9 billion stadium proposal in Las Vegas.
Not to mention, billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson also announced that his family had withdrawn from the deal.
Goldman Sachs had been involved with stadium financing for Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. They pulled out of the Vegas deal due to Adelson withdrawing, according to reports.
It is unclear how this impacts Raiders owner Mark Davis’ plans for a 65,000-seat dome stadium. A team executive said the team does not want to address the situation publicly, per the Mercury News.
Multiple sources have said that the Raiders do not want Adelson as an enemy in Vegas. Bleacher Report NFL insider Jason Cole said this after the Goldman report.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora wrote that Adelson out of the deal poses a big problem for the Raiders. Besides his deep pockets, the Raiders lose Adelson’s unquantifiable resources and connections to the Vegas market.
Now, La Canfora writes that there are very real concerns about the viability of the project.
“It’s a positive and a negative,” said one La Canfora’s sources.
“… It may be helpful with the NFL because of the long-standing prohibition on gambling connections by teams, but it may hurt in Las Vegas because Adelson was one of the driving forces behind the public funding and marketing commitments needed.”
Without Adelson and Goldman Sachs, Davis would need to seek the financing via a loan. It would also make the Raiders owner far more hands-on in the development of the project.
Hence, NFL owners may swing their sentiments back towards the Raiders in Oakland. The Bay area is also a more lucrative TV market, as La Canfora points out.
Nonetheless, the deal for Las Vegas is not dead yet. NFL insider Ian Rapaport tweeted this about the Raiders and Adelson.
This Las Vegas stadium proposal relied on $750 million in public funding from an increased hotel tax, as well as a $650 million investment from Adelson.
Apparently, the lease plan ticked off the Las Vegas community.
The Raiders omitted the Adelson family from a lease proposal on Thursday but maintained that they could finance it without the help from the Las Vegas Sands Corp. billionaire. This was believed to stem from the financial backing of Goldman Sachs, regardless of Adelson’s involvement.
Still, Adelson released a statement that they would have no involvement in the stadium discussion on Monday, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal (which is owned by Adelson). It also said that he was unaware that he had been excluded from the proposal.
In another statement via The Mercury News, Adelson said that he was disappointed by the Raiders’ disregard for community partners like UNLV, who was supposed to share the facility with the Raiders. Per the reports, the Raiders wanted to control the scheduling and field markers for the University.
After the Adelson announcement, the Silver and Black released their own statement. The Raiders credited Adelson for helping advance the project, but they said owner Mark Davis remained dedicated to his pursuit of relocation to Las Vegas, per CSN Bay Area.
Adelson played a major role in the Raiders getting a policy approved that included a $750 million bond package for the stadium to be repaid over 30 years by hotel taxes.
Either way, the Raiders would not have been eligible to relocate without the approval vote from 24 of 32 NFL owners. This could have come during the NFL owners meetings in March, but that could get pushed back due to the financing issues.
The Raiders currently play in the Alameda Coliseum which was built in 1966 and renovated in ’95. The team has lease options that could keep them playing there for at least two more seasons.
Otherwise, a financing group that includes former NFL players Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete issued a statement about keeping the team in Oakland. The group’s statement said they were ready to work with the Raiders and the NFL. They listed the diehard fans, a top-10 television market and Fortune 500 companies as resources for the team to stay in their home market.
Moreover, San Diego officials reached out to the Raiders about relocating the NFL franchise there. San Diego just had their Chargers relocate to Los Angeles.
Now, the market is trying to recover by building a stadium for an MLS team. That development could also include some land for an NFL team like the Raiders, per Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
It remains to be seen if the Raiders can fulfill their quest for a new stadium in Oakland, San Diego or Las Vegas. At least for now, it appears the team will try for Vegas without Adelson and Goldman Sach.
Regardless, the Raiders will be playing in Oakland for at least a few more seasons.
[Featured Image by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]