Friday, just hours after Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis met with Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to explore a new home for his team, the NFL responded by sending a memo to all 32 team owners. That memo said the league has no specific rules prohibiting any team from moving to any specific market.
First reported by the Los Angeles Daily News, the memo specifically addressed Las Vegas as a possible market for an NFL team, and addressed Davis’ tour of the proposed stadium site along Tropicana Avenue. Davis was lured to Sin City by Adelson, who has proposed constructing a $1 billion, 65,000-seat domed football palace, which a professional sports team would share with the UNLV Rebels. The stadium would rest on 42 acres—Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands’ senior vice president of government relations and community development, said Thursday that Las Vegas needs a modern stadium with at least 65,000 seats to drive additional tourism to Southern Nevada.
- READ MORE: Raiders’ Davis exploring move to Las Vegas
The memo reads:
There have been reports over the last day about a proposal to construct a new stadium in Las Vegas in connection with a possible move of the Raiders to Las Vegas. If your club owner or executives are asked about this, there is no need to comment. If any comment is offered, please keep the following points in mind:
1. All decisions regarding the location of teams are made by the full membership. Three-fourths of the member clubs must approve any team move.
2. No proposal made to the league. It would be speculative to suggest that your club would or would not support such a proposal. If such a proposal is made, it would be considered under the league’s relocation policies.
3. There is no prohibition under league rules on a team moving to any particular city. Any proposal for relocation would be evaluated based on the same standards as apply to any proposed move. Those standards are well known, having just been applied in connection with relocation proposals to Los Angeles.
Similar reports have begun to arise after Davis’ Raiders were denied initial opportunity to move to Los Angeles—that opportunity was extended to the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers, whom have been granted access to the market while sharing the same stadium. Instead, Davis could move the Raiders to San Antonio, where he already owns significant, and has apparent investors nipping at the heals to finance a new stadium.
Davis’ lease at his current stadium, O.co Coliseum, ends next month, and he has actively been searching for a new home. However, the idea of him moving the team to Las Vegas was quickly dismissed by football watchers familiar with the league’s vehement stance against gambling. Mark Ganis, who has orchestrated financing for multiple NFL stadium projects, including Levi’s Stadium, which will host Super Bowl 50 next week, said the NFL has not looked kindly upon the Las Vegas market for that very reason.
“It is silent about Las Vegas and only says the process will be the same for any city,” Ganis said. “The memo’s (purpose) seems to be to avoid having owners take stances one way or the other before the matter is brought to the league. After the recent process (concerning Los Angeles), that approach makes a great deal of sense.”
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII