Mark Davis May See Increased Pushback from Owners, Bay Area Leaders over Las Vegas Move
A few weeks ago, the Oakland Raiders proposed relocation to Las Vegas seemed inevitable. However, as the season progresses, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Bay Area leaders, and numerous owners have expressed their concerns regarding the potential move, drawing into question the ability of owner Mark Davis to garner the 23 votes required to relocate the franchise.
The owners have the same qualms about the move that many fans have expressed, namely that Las Vegas is more of a tourist destination that a football town that could provide a dedicated fan base. The population, income, and TV markets in Las Vegas don’t live up to what the team currently has in Oakland, and so many of the most influential owners are determined to keep the team in place.
“The municipalities in play [in Oakland] believe the NFL is very sincere about being willing to make the Raiders stay in Oakland if it needs to,” said one source close to the league and familiar with its inner workings on the matter. “That’s the distinct impression they are getting from the league.”
Years back, Mark’s father and long-time owner, Al Davis fought passionately for the rights to relocate the team. Unfortunately for the younger Davis, the league has made it significantly more challenging since then for a team to move without the support of the other owners. If Mark is committed to the cause, it could mean a lengthy legal battle similar to his father’s.
Finally, there is the financing problem. Whether Davis stays in Oakland or moves to Las Vegas, he expects a new stadium for his team and $750 million in public funds to help build it. The city of Oakland is already paying $11 million a year for bonds issued to fund the team’s move back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1996.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has pledged $90 million to renovating the Coliseum, but says a $750 million investment “is simply not appropriate in a city like Oakland.”
If Goodell and others continue their opposition, Schaaf may get away with her plan to save the taxpayers money.