Will the Raiders Say ‘Viva Las Vegas?’

Talk of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas is heating up.

Raiders owner Mark Davis said he hopes to make Nevada “the Silver State, into the silver and black state.”

And he’s willing to put up $500 million of his own money to help build a Las Vegas stadium. But it’s going to take a lot more than that.

“I would love to see the Raiders in Las Vegas. I think it would be wonderful,” Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval told the Las Vegas Sun. “But it always comes down to money.”

The proposed dome stadium is expected to cost $1.4 billion. Sheldon Adelson, who owns two Las Vegas casinos, has pledged $150 million to the project. So where will the other $750 million come from? That is the tricky part.

One proposal has the money coming from tourism taxes. For this to happen, the Nevada Legislature would have to approve diverting some hotel-room tax funds. And some casino owners would prefer those funds go to a convention center expansion, at the site of the now defunct Riviera Hotel and Casino.

Jim Murren, the CEO of MGM Resorts, said his corporation does “not support room taxes being diverted to a stadium when we have this just tremendous, tremendous, dire need at our convention center.”

Some have accused Adelson of only supporting the Raiders’ project to protect his convention business, which would be hurt by an expansion of the city’s convention center. So, getting a Raiders stadium built in the desert is far from a given. The city and state would likely have to find a way to fund the stadium and convention center expansion, which could be difficult.

But at least Las Vegas is making an effort to build a stadium for the Raiders. The same can’t be said for the city of Oakland, where Mayor Libby Schaaf is barely lifting a finger.

And the Raiders do need a new stadium. The Oakland Coliseum might be the worst NFL facility. Sewage backups that spill into the locker rooms aren’t uncommon.

Last year there were rumors of a Los Angeles move. This year, it’s Las Vegas. Football coaches hate distractions. Potential moves can divert players’ focus from the gridiron to relocating their families. How does Raiders coach Jack Del Rio keep his players focused on football, and not the bright lights of Las Vegas?

“We don’t talk about it,” Del Rio told Breitbart Sports. “I trust the people who need to work on it, to work on it. I just coach the football team. We don’t talk about it. One time last year, at the first team meeting, but never really talked about it again. That is kind of how we handle it, just focus on football.”

That’s easier said than done.

In the middle of the 1995 season word leaked out that the Cleveland Browns were moving to Baltimore. The team was 4-4 before the leak, and the distracted team went 1-7 the rest of the way.