Unanimous vote avoids delays for Raiders' move to Las Vegas in 2020

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Friday, May 19, 2017

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Stadium Authority on Thursday unanimously approved a conditional lease agreement for the Oakland Raiders, helping avoid any possible delays on the team's relocation.

Raiders president Marc Badain had recently warned that appearing at next week's NFL owners meetings without a lease in hand could delay the Raiders' Southern Nevada debut by a year, since the next opportunity to present a lease would not be until October. The Raiders are hoping to break ground on the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium with natural grass this summer.

"It means we go to the league meetings in Chicago with a lease and hopefully get it approved and stay on pace for a 2020 opening," Badain told ESPN.com on Thursday afternoon.

While the approval was not necessarily in doubt, the approval paves the way for NFL owners to vote on ratifying the lease at their spring meetings, which begin Monday.

The league owners approved the team's relocation during their gathering in March by a 31-1 vote, the Miami Dolphins the lone dissenting vote, though owners did want to see a lease agreement, design plans and FAA approval. The Raiders have identified a 62-acre plot of land on Russell Road, west of Interstate 15 and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the south end of Las Vegas.

The Raiders will share the stadium with UNLV's football team, which plays in the Mountain West but has designs on eventually moving into a Power 5 conference.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the approved lease "offers the Raiders and their designated events company more confidentiality for their financial information during required audits."

Also, the Sun reported, the lease "gives the team discretion to relocate certain utilities on the stadium site as needed and agreed to by the authority and the holder of the utility."

Gaming was also listed as being a prohibited use for the stadium, per the report, "going so far as to list specific card games that cannot be conducted at the facility."

The Raiders, who have two one-year leases at the Oakland Coliseum, plan on playing in Northern California in 2017 and 2018 but have yet to establish a home for 2019. Raiders owner Mark Davis does not want to move to Las Vegas until the dome is complete, in 2020, and has said he does not want to play at UNLV's current home, 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium, some nine miles from the campus on the eastern edge of the city, on a temporary basis.