By Billy Clemmons
After three months of speculation that Sheldon Adelson might back out of the Raiders‘ stadium deal in Las Vegas, the casino billionaire finally made the move Monday and officially cut all ties with the team.
In a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Adelson said that his family “will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”
In October, Adelson had threatened to pull out of the deal because he didn’t like the terms that the Raiders were offering.
“They want so much,” Adelson said at the time. “So I told my people, ‘Tell them I could live with the deal, I could live without the deal. Here’s the way it’s gonna go down. If they don’t want it, bye-bye.’ ”
The billionaire casino mogul was expected to contribute as much as $650 million to the $1.9 billion stadium project in Las Vegas. The rest of the funding is scheduled to come from the Raiders and the NFL ($500 million) and a tax increase on Vegas hotels ($750 million).
On Wednesday, during his annual Super Bowl question and answer session, Goodell was asked if the league would allow the Raiders to sell a portion of the team or the stadium to a casino.
“I don’t see any ownership position of a team for a casino,” he said. “That is not consistent with league policy. That’s not likely for a stadium either.”
Goodell said whether or not the league approves the Raiders move, the relocation would have to be “in the long-term interest of the NFL.”
The NFL commissioner also said he did not see the Raiders being able to move to San Diego if the Las Vegas relocation fell through.
Meanwhile, Chris Dobbins, the President of the grassroots group Save Oakland Sports, was elated at the news the Raiders move was in jeopardy.
“We’re excited that this deal is falling apart, allegedly, in Vegas,” said Dobbins. “And we just want the Raiders to recommit and make it work in Oakland.”
The Las Vegas facility was on track to even be more expensive than Levi’s Stadium. The stadium’s price tag stands at $1.9 billion.
The State of Nevada promised $750 million in public funds, while the Raiders committed $500 million. The addition $650 million in funding now is in jeopardy.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said the state’s “contribution will not increase.”
That’s the version we hear from Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission in Nevada, whose district includes Las Vegas. He said Adelson told him Monday that the two sides could not work out a revenue stream from concessions and other sources to repay the $650 million that billionaire Adelson was putting into the stadium deal.
There was widespread speculation that in exchange for his money, Adelson wanted at least a piece of the team, something Davis might not have parted with willingly. Sisolak, however, said he never heard any such talk from Adelson.
“He was very disappointed, very unhappy … but that never came up,” Sisolak said.
Enter into the equation San Diego, California’s southernmost city. According to Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune, the city has reached out to to the Raiders as a potential relocation destination should the Vegas project fall through.
It’s not yet known whether this is a real possibility. San Diego’s stadium is considered as bad as what the Raiders are dealing with in Oakland. Issues between the city and the Chargers relating to the stadium situation also led to the Chargers themselves relocating to Los Angeles.
As it is, this is definitely another thing to keep an eye on when it comes to the Raiders’ stadium situation. For now, it appears we are much further away from a conclusion than we were on Sunday.