Billionaire owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino company, Sheldon Adelson, announced on Thursday that he wants to build a $1 billion domed stadium on the UNLV campus and will also meet with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis.
Sands spokesman Ron Reese and the Raider organization did not disclose the nature of the meeting.
Davis laughed while on the phone from his Northern California offices, and typical of Raider modus operandi, said, “I can neither confirm nor deny.”
The owner and son of the late legendary Raiders owner Al Davis maintains staying in Oakland remains his top priority. Yet, at this time he does not have a stadium lease to host his team for the upcoming 2016-17 season. The Raiders plan to extend a short-term lease at O.co Coliseum with officials in Oakland and Alameda County until reaching a new relocation agreement.
Earlier in the month, the NFL denied Davis’ attempt to move the team to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, San Antonio continues to make overtures to the storied franchise known for its passionate and often times unruly fans.
According to ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez, a UNLV alumnus, the potential marriage of the Raiders and Las Vegas makes sense.
“The NFL is an event. Eight times a year there is a game. And no city does an event like Las Vegas. Put those parameters together and your talking about a domed stadium that the UNLV football team could potentially use as well, some of these things start to line up and it kind of makes sense,” the sports writer explained.
Currently, UNLV searches for a new football stadium to replace the 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium, which has served as home to the Rebels since 1971.
Nevertheless, Gutierrez admits that he doesn’t see the NFL ever allowing a team to move to Las Vegas because of its reputation for sports betting and gambling.
In a report by Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Sands’ senior vice president of government relations and community development, Andy Abboud, stated that Las Vegas needs a stadium regardless if the NFL, the Raiders, and the city can’t reach an agreement.
“We are moving forward with the stadium concept with or without an NFL team,” Abboud said Thursday. “We see a lot more opportunities — conference championships, bowl games, NFL exhibition football, boxing, soccer, neutral site games, and music festivals. There is an entire segment out there.”