Source: Raiders secure new Vegas stadium financing from Bank of America

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders informed the NFL's finance and stadium committees Monday they had received a commitment from Bank of America to finance their proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN.

The news of the Raiders' finding new financing was first reported by The Daily News and confirmed by ESPN.

As such, the team remains on course to apply for formal relocation to Southern Nevada at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix March 26-29, a league source said, with 24 of 32 owners needing to approve the move.

The Raiders' planned move to Las Vegas was on life support when casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew his $650 million pledge in late January. Adelson helped spearhead a $750 million hotel tax toward the project, while the Raiders are contributing $500 million.

After Adelson pulled out, Goldman Sachs was purportedly in line to fill that gap, but then withdrew its support as well. And while Adelson was involved from the beginning, there had been a growing feeling that NFL owners were not entirely comfortable with his involvement, especially with reports that he wanted partial ownership for his investment, or a path to ownership.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about it at his state of the league address during Super Bowl week, after Adelson withdrew.

"I don't see an ownership position in a team from a casino," Goodell said at the time. "That is not something that is consistent with our policies ... not likely a stadium, either."

That gave the sense that the Raiders had the green light to continue pursuing relocation, without a casino connection.

"We haven't made a determination about Las Vegas as an NFL market," Goodell said. "That's part of the relocation process. The Raiders submitted an application; it's one that we're considering carefully. But there's a great deal more work to be done, and there are several elements of that -- financing the stadium is just one.

"Obviously, the stadium project itself, the depth of the market, all of those are things that we've studied over the last several months. But that will increase in intensity over the next month or so as we move forward in that process."

Adelson said in a statement that he was pulling out, in part, because he was not included in the Raiders' lease proposal to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

The Raiders have identified a 62-acre plot on Russell Road, west of Interstate 15 and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the south end of Las Vegas, as their preferred site and they would share the stadium with UNLV.

A stadium, though, would not be completed until possibly 2020 and Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN this fall he planned on staying in Oakland the next two seasons, even if the team is approved to move. The Raiders hold two one-year lease options at the Oakland Coliseum.

"We want to bring a Super Bowl championship back to the Bay Area," Davis said in October.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf also made a presentation to the committees on Monday, though reports said no proposals were made, and no representatives from Fortress Investment Group, which is fronted by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, were in attendance.

"We presented a plan that we believe responsibly meets the needs of all parties," Schaaf said in a statement. "We made a sound economic case for keeping the Raiders in Oakland through the creation of what would become one of America's premier mixed-use sporting venues ...The Oakland solution for the Raiders keeps the Raiders at home in Oakland, in the country's sixth largest media market that is demonstrating strong growth due to its innovative and diverse economy."

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