National Football League teams are a scarce commodity. There are just 32 of them in 30 different geographical areas around the United States. But it appears that one city, Oakland, doesn’t want to keep Mark Davis’ Raiders around for a couple of reasons, all due to money. Oakland isn’t too keen on spending taxpayer’s dollars for a new facility and wants someone to pay off the debt on the old stadium which was renovated in 1995 for the Raiders.
Davis has been talking to Las Vegas officials and business owners, including hotel and casino money-man Sheldon Adelson. Things have not gone according to plan. Getting public money for the project is going to be difficult because the stadium is estimated to have a $1.4 billion price tag. Davis, with Adelson’s help, may only put up $600 million for costs. Then, there is finding a location. Southwest Airlines is not very happy with one of the plots of land that is being considered near the Las Vegas airport.
There is a thought that the stadium could play havoc with incoming and outgoing flights and Southwest Airlines’ business. In the past, Southwest has had partnerships with the NFL. There are other sites being studied and it is pretty hard to believe that Davis, Adelson, and Las Vegas business leaders (along with elected officials) can’t find a spot.
Paying for the stadium is the real problem. With the National Hockey League setting up shop in Las Vegas, the gambling stigma is gone. However, putting an NFL team in Las Vegas brings up a thorny problem for the same. How can the league fight legalized sports gambling in New Jersey with the Giants and Jets in the state and allow Las Vegas to have a team? Ultimately, that may be the biggest problem facing NFL owners– embracing a state with sports gambling while fighting a state that wants sports gambling.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.