Raiders owner pledges $500M toward Las Vegas stadium
Mark Davis stops short of guaranteeing move from Oakland
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis increased the ante of where his team will play in the future by pledging $500 million on Thursday toward the building of a proposed $1.4 billion domed stadium in Las Vegas.
Davis stopped short of guaranteeing a move to Las Vegas but made his intentions clear with comments like turning "the Silver State into the silver and black state."
Davis' quest toward moving the Raiders to Las Vegas came during a meeting with the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee at UNLV.
Also in attendance was Sands Corp. chairman Sheldon Adelson -- who is overseeing the charge for the 65,000-seat stadium project - and soccer star David Beckham, who does promotional work for Sands.
"To bring a great organization like the Raiders to Las Vegas is amazing, but it's bigger than that," said Beckham, who mentioned the possible expansion of Major League Soccer to Las Vegas.
Getting a team in Las Vegas has become a more likely possibility recently after the NFL long avoided the city due to the extensive gambling industry in the city.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell touched on the topic Wednesday, one day before Davis made his bold move with the $500 million contribution offer.
"We don't have a proposal," Goodell said. "Ultimately that is a decision of the ownership. There are owners who will feel very strongly about continuing to support our position on gambling, there will be owners that will have the view of whether that's the best market for us to be in, whether there's truly the fan support there, they'll look at obviously the stadium alternatives, and I think that's what you do in any relocation."
Davis believes the support for a move will be there if the stadium is built.
"If we give them an offer they can't refuse and that's what we're talking about now, I don't see a problem," Davis said.
In addition to the $500 million from the Raiders, the Sands is contributing $150 million. That would make up nearly half of the funding and the current plan is to raise the rest through tourism taxes.
Davis said the Raiders would continue to play in Oakland until a Las Vegas stadium is ready. He said they would play an exhibition game each year at Sam Boyd Stadium, the 35,500-seat facility that houses UNLV's football program.