But the Raiders are not entirely in the driver’s seat. With each city comes challenges and moving parts that depend on actions by other NFL teams, votes by team owners, approval from East Bay or Nevada officials, or other financing obstacles.
Whatever happens, the Raiders will be in Oakland on Sept. 18 for their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons in what could be one of their final seasons in the East Bay.
These are the possible stadium outcomes in a nutshell:
There’s big backing in Las Vegas for a domed stadium off the Strip, but it would require approval from the Nevada Legislature for $750 million in public funding, and from NFL owners who have historically opposed playing in the gambling mecca but are softening to the idea.
In Oakland, the Raiders share the Coliseum site with the Oakland Athletics, who are also looking for a new stadium. City officials are opposed to using public money to build a new stadium, but NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and his investment group have re-energized talk of the team staying put as they negotiate with city and county officials over the Coliseum land.
The San Diego Chargers are asking voters in November to approve a measure to build a new downtown stadium. If the measure fails — a recent poll found support is well below the two-thirds needed to pass — the team has until January to exercise its option to join the Rams in Los Angeles. Further complicating things, the deadline could be pushed until January 2018. If the Chargers stay in San Diego, it’s possible the Raiders could share the Rams stadium in L.A., but talk of an L.A. move has subsided.
At the moment, Davis has his sights set on Vegas. Momentum is building for the 65,000-seat, $1.9 billion stadium proposed by the Raiders, Majestic Realty and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Renderings released last month show a stadium similar to an earlier one proposed by the Raiders for Los Angeles.
As part of a push to present the idea to the NFL early next year, a tourism committee moved up by a week one of two meetings scheduled for this month. The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee is expected to make a recommendation on the project and one of two proposed sites.
The recommendation will then go to the Nevada Legislature, likely in a special session scheduled early next year, for a vote on using $750 million in public money for the stadium.
Then NFL owners, too, must vote on the move. Though a Las Vegas team was once considered a long shot, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has softened his stance on a football franchise in Sin City. Last month, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a powerful figure in Nevada, signaled his support for a stadium there.
Some have speculated casino owners might oppose the project, which includes raising taxes on hotel rooms, but Craig Cavileer, Majestic’s vice president of retail development and leasing, said that hasn’t materialized.
“I think it’s got great momentum,” he said. “We feel they are behind us.”
In another symbol of Davis’ commitment to Las Vegas, the Raiders last month filed for the “Las Vegas Raiders” trademark. A call to Davis was not returned Friday.
One skeptic is Jim Nagourney, a former executive with the New York Mets and New York Islanders, who said the financing plan in Vegas is flawed because it projects hotel taxes based on multi-night visits, counting visitors who stay in town to attend conferences at the city’s convention center as opposed to a three-hour football game. The figures also assume 35 percent of tickets will be purchased by out-of-towners who will stay in hotels at least one night, Nagourney said.
“If Las Vegas can’t support buying all the tickets, why are we building a stadium?” the Vegas resident said. “That number (for out-of-town ticket sales) is outrageous. That is so far beyond anything that’s been experienced by any NFL team.”
As momentum picks up in Las Vegas, former 49ers star and one-time Raider Lott is injecting new life into the effort to keep the Silver and Black in Oakland. After multiple failed attempts to build a new stadium, city and county leaders have signed a letter of intent to negotiate with Lott, who wants to build a football-only stadium on Coliseum land.
Lott has his own big backing: former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and Atlanta developer Egbert Perry, chairman of the board of Fannie Mae and CEO of a real estate firm that is one of the largest African-American-owned businesses in the United States. Lott, through a representative, has declined to comment during negotiations.
An appraisal of the publicly owned Coliseum site is underway, with the potential for the county to sell off its share, Oakland Councilman Larry Reid said. City leaders have viewed the A’s increased interest in Howard Terminal near Jack London Square as a way to make the Coliseum site more attractive to the Raiders, while satisfying the city’s baseball team with a waterfront location.
Getting the Raiders, A’s and city on the same page has been one of the biggest challenges, longtime sports executive Andy Dolich said recently.
“Everybody seems to have a veto position against someone else,” Dolich said. “That creates to me the greatest hurdle in this process. You never seem to see all three entities talking as one.”
For now, the Raiders have a one-year lease to play in Oakland, with options to extend for two additional seasons.
“(Lott) and his partners would go down in the annals of the Oakland Raiders as some of the greatest heroes if they can get this done,” said Jim Zelinski of Save Oakland Sports.
David DeBolt covers Oakland. Contact him at 510-208-6453. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.
Las Vegas: A tourism committee has scheduled two meetings this month to discuss the details of a proposed $1.9 billion domed stadium. The committee is expected to soon make a recommendation to be voted on by the Nevada Legislature in a special session. NFL owners, too, would have to approve the move.
Oakland: The Raiders have a one-year lease with options to extend for two seasons in Oakland. Meanwhile, NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott is working behind the scenes to keep the team in Oakland.
San Diego/Los Angeles: San Diego voters will decide in November on a measure to build a downtown stadium. If it’s denied, the Chargers have until January to opt to join the Rams in Los Angeles. If they chose not to, the Raiders have an option of doing so.