While Las Vegas has been lobbying intensively to become the nation’s capital for eSports, it hasn’t forgotten about the real thing. The city, which currently has no professional sports franchise, may see that change in the future. Multibillionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, owner of Las Vegas Sands Corp., continues to pursue the construction of a domed stadium. The potential $1.4 billion facility, which is also backed by Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn and California billionaire Ed Roski (though Wynn has yet to commit financially to the project), could potentially attract the Oakland Raiders to the city.
Conforming the rumor that the Raiders may have found their new home, the team’s owner, Mark Davis, has reportedly met with members of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee and pledged $500 million toward the construction of the 65,000-seat stadium. Wynn and Davis have pledged an additional $150 million.
“The Sands stadium deal, in partnership with California billionaire Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty, includes real estate owned by the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and $750 million of hotel room tax revenue—a move critics contend is Adelson’s way of undercutting his longtime rivals at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA),” according to John L. Smith writing for the Daily Beast.
Enthusiastic supporters of the new stadium include Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and retired international soccer star David Beckham.
Last month, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is confident that the Oakland Raiders will move to Las Vegas unless the deal is mismanaged.
"The Raiders will come if Nevada handles this properly," Goodman told ESPN Radio's Capital Games podcast.
Supporters of the stadium plan to ask for a special session of the Nevada Legislature in August to approve diverting hotel room-tax funds for the stadium. The legislature is not scheduled to meet again until 2017.
Should the legislature come up with the extra funds, the decision then moves to the NFL. Team owners would have to approve a Raiders relocation with affirmative votes by at least 24 of 32 owners.
Not everyone is onboard with the idea of the stadium, particularly the finances.
“At this stage, it’s easy to bend the financial realities like Beckham,” wrote the Daily Beast’s Smith. “Cheering along the parade route is the simple part. For officials pausing long enough to consider such things, the greater hurdle is balancing the needs of a community with underperforming schools, increasing crime, and challenged infrastructure with the desires of its sports fans and local billionaires.”
The Raiders have been considered a team in search of a new home for a while since plans were scuttled to build a new stadium built in Oakland, a city with considerable financial constraints. While the stadium would be paid for by investors and tourists paying for hotel rooms, the Raiders would ultimately be responsible for picking up the costs of construction of its near-Strip headquarters, locker rooms, a practice facility, and even an income-generating Hall of Fame.