Oakland Raiders file paperwork to relocate to Las Vegas

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Friday, January 20, 2017

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders have filed their paperwork to relocate to Las Vegas, the league announced Thursday.

The team's relocation to Las Vegas must be approved by three-fourths of the NFL's team owners.The vote for relocation is expected to take place at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix on March 26-29.

"The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks by league staff and the stadium and financing committees," the league said in a statement.

When reached by ESPN on Thursday, Raiders owner Mark Davis confirmed the papers have been filed but did not offer further comment.

Davis first made public his interest in moving to Las Vegas last spring. Influential owners such as the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones and the New England Patriots' Bob Kraft have seemingly shown public support for the team's move.

The Raiders had until Feb. 15 to apply for relocation.

The proposed 65,000-seat domed stadium with natural grass the Raiders want to play in (and share with UNLV) is expected to cost $1.9 billion, including $750 million in hotel tax revenue, $650 million from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and $500 million from the Raiders and the NFL.

On Thursday, Adelson's casino company agreed to pay almost $7 million in penalties to U.S. authorities to settle an investigation into the company's business dealings in China -- including an unsuccessful attempt to acquire a Chinese basketball team. A company spokesman denied any link between that effort and the $650 million for Las Vegas stadium, saying "one has absolutely no bearing on the other."

The Las Vegas stadium is expected to be on a 62-acre site on Russell Road, west of Interstate 15 and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the south end of Las Vegas.

"I am happy to see the process moving forward, and greatly appreciate the commitment of the Raiders and work of the Adelson family to the hope of making Las Vegas the home of the Raiders," Clark County (Nevada) Commission chairman Steve Sisolak told The Associated Press.

The Raiders could become the third NFL franchise to be approved to move in 12 months. This past week, the Chargers announced they would leave San Diego and move to Los Angeles, a year after the dual bid put in by the Raiders and Chargers to move to the L.A. suburb of Carson was passed over in favor of the Rams' proposal to move from St. Louis for Los Angeles.

Davis went before the NFL's stadium and finance committees in New York last week during a 3-hour meeting, updating the league on his plans to relocate.

Davis told ESPN in October that the Raiders plan on staying in Oakland the next two years, even if they win approval to move. The team owns two one-year options at the Oakland Coliseum.

"We want to bring a Super Bowl championship back to the Bay Area," Davis said at the time.

The Raiders are on the upswing after improving from 3-13 in 2014 to 7-9 to 12-4 this season and, as a wild card, making their first playoff appearance since 2002. Oakland, without quarterback Derek Carr, who suffered a broken fibula in his right leg in Game 15, started rookie Connor Cook and lost at the Houston Texans 27-14.

Even if the team is in line to move, it would still be called the "Oakland" Raiders in the interim. Davis said in April, the team would be known as the Las Vegas Raiders with a move and there are no plans on rebranding the franchise in Southern Nevada.

Beyond possibly playing one preseason game a year in 2017 and 2018 at UNLV's current home, 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium in the southeastern part of the city, the heat of Las Vegas in September, cramped locker rooms and security issues around the perimeter of the stadium make it a non-viable option for the Raiders at the present.

The Raiders played in San Francisco in 1960 and 1961 and in Oakland from 1962 to 1981 before moving to Los Angeles in 1982. They returned to Oakland in 1995.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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