Raiders' future is once again up in the air as billionaire casino magnate backs out of Las Vegas stadium deal
The Raiders' potential relocation to Las Vegas hit a major snag on Monday night, when billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson backed out of his agreement to help finance the stadium.
Adelson, the CEO of the Sands Corporation, had agreed to contribute $650 million to the $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas, set to be shared by the Raiders and the UNLV football team.
The Raiders (with the help of the NFL) were set to pay about $500 million, and the state of Nevada would add the remaining $750 million.
But even after the terms of the deal were set, Adelson and Raiders owner Mark Davis reportedly continued to disagree over the specific arrangements. On Monday, Adelson announced he had walked away entirely.
"It's clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family," Adelson said in a statement. "So, regrettably, we will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion."
The Raiders have claimed to have a backup investor ready in case Adelson walked, and told the Las Vegas Stadium authority earlier this month that Goldman Sachs would finance the stadium regardless of Adelson's involvement. That said, Davis will still need 23 other owners to vote in favor of his relocation bid to successfully move his team. No longer having Adelson's power, or checkbook, likely won't help his cause.
Reports suggest that franchise is now extremely uncertain about a potential move to Las Vegas.
"This is not a wrench in the wheel, the wheel fell off," Clark County Commission chair Steve Sisolak said. "This is an enormous setback in my opinion."
Sisolak also expressed skepticism about Goldman's involvement now that Adelson is no longer involved.
"I don't know what the next step is, if Goldman is going to stay in, if the Raiders are going to stay in," he said. "I think a lot needs to be done to keep this deal alive, and now it's totally up to the Raiders."
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval released a statement saying the state would not contribute any more money than already agreed upon:
As the Las Vegas situation grows more precarious, a group led by former NFL player Ronnie Lott has continued to work with Oakland city officials to finance a new stadium to keep the team in the Bay Area.
Here's Adelson's full statement:
"The Oakland Raiders came before the Las Vegas Stadium Authority last week with a proposed lease agreement that has sent shockwaves through our community.
It was certainly shocking to the Adelson family. We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement; we weren't even aware of its existence.
In addition to being discouraged by the surprise submission, I was deeply disappointed for the disregard the Raiders showed our community partners, particularly UNLV, through the proposed agreement.
It's clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family. So, regrettably, we will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.
While this is not the result my family was hoping for, I am very appreciative of the countless people who have given considerable time and energy to this process, especially so many of our elected officials who have made this a top priority for Southern Nevada."
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