A $750 million public funding plan has been approved to build a Raiders’ stadium in Las Vegas. The Clark County Commission Chair confirmed Thursday that by a unanimous vote, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee agreed to bring the Oakland Raiders to town. Las Vegas has never had its own professional football team.
However, the plan of course needs ratification by Nevada’s governor and state legislature first. Therefore, the Oakland Raiders will still reside in Oakland, CA, for now. The proposed public funding package for the stadium is $1.4 billion, and the state lawmakers would need to approve this cost. What’s more, the total cost for the Raiders’ venue would likely be closer to $1.9 billion. How will the extra funds be raised? The Las Vegas hotel tax would potentially be raised higher, in order to generate $750 million; the Raiders and the Las Vegas Sands would together contribute $1.25 billion, including $500 million from the Raiders. Other ongoing expenses would be covered how? Taxes collected on stadium grounds would collect $35 million annually. Rumors have circulated that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson might be willing to drop funds into the cause’s bucket as well. The Adelson family may give as much as $650 million towards the new stadium, which would house UNLV football as well as the Raiders.
Nevada state legislature has not yet set a date for the stadium vote. Everyone involved is hoping state lawmakers will meet – and green light the deal – as soon as possible. If that works out, the next step would be to pitch the deal to the Raiders’ NFL owners. The team owners will next convene in January – ideally the best time to pitch the deal. To approve the move, 75 percent of the team’s owners must say yay (this is true for any NFL team relocation.) Last January, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that if the Raiders want to move from Oakland to Vegas, and the team owners approve it, then he would not get in the way.
Opponents of the relocation and stadium construction plan say that it doesn’t seem appropriate to use public funds for a project that is otherwise being supplemented by one of the richest men in the world, meaning Adelson. They also worry that the bonds being used to help pay for the stadium might force taxpayers to make up for stadium debt during an economic downturn. However, the Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee says that the deals careful structuring would prevent such a catastrophe from occurring. The Sands also say they will walk away if the public puts in any less than $750 million.
Last month, renderings for the proposed stadium were released. The venue would be a large, domed 65,000 seat building. The site for the new stadium is as yet undetermined.