With Las Vegas still waiting to find out if it will be awarded an expansion team in the NHL within the next few months, an NFL franchise is also becoming a bigger possibility for Sin City due to the current stadium status of the Oakland Raiders. A move to their former home of Los Angeles fell through earlier this year, with the St. Louis Rams going there instead. Now Vegas has emerged as the favorite to land the Raiders if financing is approved for a $1.3 billion domed stadium near the Strip by a government committee.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, the son of deceased Hall of Famer Al Davis, is set to meet Thursday with the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, which will ultimately determine if the stadium should be built. Two-thirds of the funding for the new stadium would possibly come from taxes on tourists who have made Vegas one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States. The other possibility is that locals would help fund the stadium through taxes along with private investors, giving the committee a lot to consider before ultimately making its decision at the meeting.
The proposed domed stadium would be constructed on a 42-acre site near the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) and also serve as the home of the Rebels college football team. UNLV currently plays its home games off campus at Sam Boyd Stadium off Boulder Highway, which is nearly 10 miles away. The Raiders have a lease in Oakland for one more year at a cost of $3.5 million, more than three times the previous amount of $975,000, and two one-year options after that. The opportunity to move to a new city that would embrace the team and build a new stadium obviously appeals to Davis, especially because the cost to stay in Oakland is becoming so high.
Vegas is also hoping to land an NHL franchise soon for the 2017 season and already has a place for the team to play following the Sportsbook of T-Mobile Arena next to the New York-New York Hotel and Casino. The arena was funded privately by a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and AEG at a cost of $375 million and seats up to 20,000 people for events with room for approximately 17,500 hockey fans.