Written by The Business Journal Staff
(AP) — The Oakland Raiders have filed paperwork to move to Las Vegas.
The NFL and officials in Nevada confirmed Thursday that the team is asking league owners to approve the move, although the team made no immediate comment and a group that wants to keep the team in Oakland vowed it was still in the game and “playing to win.”
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak made the filing of paperwork public on Twitter, and told The Associated Press he spoke with team officials.
“I am happy to see the process moving forward, and greatly appreciate the commitment of the Raiders and work of the Adelson family to the hope of making Las Vegas the home of the Raiders,” Sisolak said.
Sisolak chairs an elected panel with oversight of the Las Vegas Strip and was part of an 11-member panel appointed by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to study plans for the proposal backed by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., to build a domed stadium to lure the Raiders to town.
Andy Abboud, the Sands executive working on the project, called the filing “one of those moments that makes it real” and vowed that necessary negotiations will be completed.
“The people of Las Vegas should be excited that the NFL is coming to town,” Abboud told AP. “Business deals take time to work out, but everything will work out in the end.”
Sandoval also confirmed the filing, crediting Raiders owner Mark Davis with fulfilling a promise to seek the move.
“Mark Davis is a man of his word and the filing of the Raiders’ application for relocation of the franchise with the NFL is a significant step in bringing the team to Las Vegas,” Sandoval said.
A site hasn’t been picked for the proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat stadium. It is expected to be close to the Las Vegas Strip and tens of thousands of hotel rooms.
Sandoval and Nevada lawmakers have committed $750 million in hotel tax revenue toward the project, Adelson’s company has promised $650 million, and Davis and the Raiders pledged $500 million from the team and the NFL.
Any relocation to Las Vegas must be approved by three-fourths of NFL team owners.
The league said the Raiders’ application would be reviewed in coming weeks by league staff and stadium and finance committees “as is provided for under the NFL policy and procedures for proposed franchise relocations.”
The Raiders made no immediate comment.
A statement from an investment group trying to get approval for a new $1.3 billion, 55,000-seat stadium in Oakland said the filing wasn’t a surprise. The investors are anchored by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and former quarterback Rodney Peete.
“The team is doing what it needs to do to keep its options open in Las Vegas,” the statement from Lott and Fortress Investment Group said. “We will also be providing additional information and data to the Raiders and the NFL so that they can see there is a real and viable option to remain in Oakland.”
Should the Raiders be allowed to move to Nevada, it would be the third relocation approval in one year.
The Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles last year and are building a $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood.
The Chargers last week announced their relocation to LA and will be a tenant in that new stadium, scheduled to open in 2019.
For years, the Raiders have said they needed a new stadium. Their current home, the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, opened in 1966 and is the only facility shared by a baseball and football franchise.
Under Davis’ father, Hall of Fame owner Al Davis, the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982 then returned to the East Bay in 1995.