By Veronica Mackey
Neither promises of a shiny new $1.3 billion stadium, a deeply loyal fan base, nor Bay Area roots that go back 57 years were enough to keep the Oakland Raiders from the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Nevada lawmakers approved $750 million in public funding for a planned domed stadium, and NFL owners voted 31-1 on Monday at the Annual League Meeting to approve the Raiders' proposal to relocate.
The decision ends a 14-month frenzy in which 3 NFL teams announced plans to relocate due to less than desirable stadium conditions—factors that affected each franchise’s bottom line.
First out of the box was St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who purchased land in Inglewood that will be used to build his football venue.
After a vote by the Inglewood City Council in 2015 to build the new privately funded $2.6 billion stadium and a unanimous vote by NFL team owners in 2016 to relocate the Rams to Los Angeles, there was speculation that either the Raiders or San Diego Chargers—both at the end of their contracts, playing at stadiums that they did not like—might join the Rams in Inglewood.
While the Rams deal gained momentum with barely a glitch, the Raiders and Chargers faced uncertainty over where they’d end up, being caught in the middle of home cities fighting to keep them, but unable to work out the financing.
In January 2017, Chargers owner Dan Spanos announced his team would be joining the Rams to play in Inglewood. Meanwhile, Mark Davis, son of late Raiders owner Al Davis, was hedging his bets that Las Vegas would close the deal for a new venue.
Davis told the press: "My father always said, 'the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,' and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness.”
Until the stadiums are complete in Inglewood and Las Vegas, the Rams will play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Chargers will play at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, and the Raiders will stay at their stadium in Oakland. The Inglewood stadium will be complete in 2019, and the Raiders will start playing in Las Vegas in 2020.