The Raiders will head into next week’s Annual League Meetings in Arizona closing in on a potential move to Las Vegas. Though it’s not a full certainty, the expectation is the 32 owners will vote on whether the Las Vegas Raiders is in the NFL’s future.
According to several sources informed of their situation, the outlook is positive that the team will get the OK to move — either next week or at the Spring League Meeting in May. The Raiders will make a presentation, briefly touching on Oakland but mainly selling their vision to the league. The league would also present, then there would be a question-and-answer period. If all goes well, there would be a vote.
There are plenty of issues and news items that came to light after discussing it with those involved:
» The expectation is that the relocation fee for the Raiders move to Las Vegas would be from $325 million to $350 million range. It has not yet been set, another item for next week. It’s a hefty price, but a far cry from the Rams‘ and Chargers‘ relocation fees of $650 million.
» Though it has not been made public, the Raiders have, in fact, identified a site for the potential new stadium in Las Vegas. The plan is for the new stadium to be adjacent (a mile or two away) from the Strip. The team has an option on the land that runs through the end of the league meetings. If they receive the 24 votes, they’ll pick up the option on the land. To the team, that is their urgency.
» It is hard to find many “no” votes for the Raiders‘ plan to move. The reality is, Oakland has not shown and does not present any real push to keep the team in their city. There is no plan. And while some owners might be hesitant to move a team from a large market to a mid-level market, there is not another viable option. Even if there is a delay in the vote (to May), it will mean nothing about the city of Oakland possibly being an option. It is not. The Vegas market isn’t large, but it’s tourism is intriguing to several owners.
» The only real roadblock to a “yes” vote next week is that there could be opposition in the room to “why now?” As in, since the Raiders are playing in Oakland for at least the next two seasons, why does the vote have to be now? The team will say it’s because their option on the land runs out. At this point, it’s hard to find any legitimate and complete opposition to the move.
» If the Raiders receive the requisite votes, it’s expected to be conditional based on a few different factors. This is standard (the Rams stadium was conditional based on FAA approval, for instance). There hasn’t been a formal recommendation from the relocation committee. That would have to come. And the vote might be subject to a lease being finalized. As far as the financing, that would have to be approved as well. It is considered sound and viable.
» Expect UNLV to have a significant presence on the new stadium, as opposed to simply being someone who plays games there. That means signage and other amenities to show the Runnin’ Rebs are partners. In addition, expect a developer to be announced this week for around the stadium, one who has experience working with UNLV.
The Raiders aren’t there yet. But based on the way it is heading, the team could end next week with their wheels in motion on a move to Las Vegas.
Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter at @RapSheet.