Luis M. Alvarez / AP
Published Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 | 10:50 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 | 12:43 p.m.
HOUSTON — The NFL is not backing away from Las Vegas after Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs pulled $650 million in funding for the proposed $1.9 billion Raiders stadium.
But the league isn’t running towards the city, either. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said today at his annual Super Bowl press conference that the league was continuing to move forward with the standard evaluation process after a team files relocation papers.
The Raiders, led by owner Mark Davis, submitted the application two weeks ago.
“It’s one we’re considering carefully but there’s a great deal more work to be done, and there are several elements to that,” Goodell said. “Financing the stadium is just one.”
Initial reports indicated a vote, in which 24 of 32 NFL owners would need to support a move from Oakland to Las Vegas, would come as soon as the NFL’s annual meetings scheduled for March 24-26 in Phoenix. Goodell said March wasn’t necessarily the target.
The owners are also expected to convene in May. There’s no concrete timetable on making the decision on Las Vegas.
“The ultimate objective here is to make the right decision,” he said. “I’ve said it many times before: Relocations are painful. You want to be intelligent, you want to be thorough, you want to make sure you do it with a great deal of sensitivity and we want to make sure we’re doing what’s in the best long-term interest of the NFL.”
Some have speculated that the Raiders would look towards San Diego, which recently lost the Chargers to Los Angeles, with their Las Vegas deal seemingly falling apart. Goodell seemed to downplay that possibility.
Las Vegas has something San Diego does not in $750 million of public money earmarked towards a new stadium.
“For any team to relocate to San Diego at this time, we’re going to have to find a solution for that stadium problem, and one that we couldn’t do after probably 15 years of effort,” Goodell said.
Check back to the Sun for more coverage of the Raiders’ move and Goodell’s press conference later.
Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement that he remained committed to bringing his franchise to Las Vegas with or without Sheldon Adelson; now it’s time to find out if the NFL supports the pursuit.
The biggest press conference of Super Bowl week comes early this year, and it’s to Las Vegas’ benefit. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell commences his annual State of the League address at the top of the hour, where Oakland’s potential move to Las Vegas is expected to be a topic of conversation.
The commissioner’s press conference has traditionally taken place on Friday of Super Bowl week, but was moved up this year. Most of the buzz about Goodell’s appearance is on the intrigue of him speaking about the “Deflategate” controversy and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension to start the year.
But Las Vegas is close behind. The league has already dealt with a pair of relocations in the last year, with the Rams and Chargers bolting for Los Angeles.
When the Raiders filed relocation papers to the league two weeks ago, it was assumed that a third California team would be on the move shortly. Adelson’s pulling out, and Goldman Sachs’ subsequent detachment, has cast doubt going forward.
But Las Vegas still has plenty to entice the NFL with $750 million in public funds approved for the $1.9 billion stadium. Some see that figure as hard for the league and the Raiders to leave on the table, especially considering Oakland hasn’t yet presented a viable alternative.
Goodell’s comments could provide some insight and clarity.
Follow along with the Sun’s live updates of the commissioner’s press conference below.