Las Vegas based billionaire Sheldon Adelson has withdrawn his involvement with the Oakland Raiders efforts to relocate to Sin City.
For quite some time now, it’s been full-steam ahead to Las Vegas for Mark Davis and the Oakland Raiders. But any momentum in favor of Vegas has come to a screeching halt, as Sheldon Adelson has backed completely out of the deal.
In a statement he released Monday evening, Adelson explained that he would “no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”
"The Oakland Raiders came before the Las Vegas Stadium Authority last week with a proposed lease agreement that has sent shockwaves through our community.It was certainly shocking to the Adelson family. We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement; we weren’t even aware of its existence.In addition to being discouraged by the surprise submission, I was deeply disappointed for the disregard the Raiders showed our community partners, particularly UNLV, through the proposed agreement.It’s clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family. So, regrettably, we will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.While this is not the result my family was hoping for, I am very appreciative of the countless people who have given considerable time and energy to this process, especially so many of our elected officials who have made this a top priority for Southern Nevada."
It’s hard to say this is a surprise.
There has been plenty of back and forth on whether or not Sheldon Adelson would be involved — he did threaten to back out once before, after all. And the two parties were having trouble reaching terms on a deal.
Then, on the rental agreement Mark Davis recently submitted, Adelson’s name was nowhere to be found. Which was the writing on the wall.
In light of the news, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak released this statement:
"“I am sorry to hear about this development. We would not be as close as we are to having an NFL franchise in Las Vegas without the initiative and leadership of Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson and their team. I sincerely appreciate the time and effort they all have contributed to this project, and I remain hopeful that we will see our NFL dream come true.”"
Sisolak was also quoted as saying:
So what’s next for the Raiders and their plans to move to Las Vegas?
The team released a statement on Adelson no longer being involved, and reaffirmed their commitment to relocating to Vegas.
"The Raiders deeply appreciate the efforts of the Adelson family to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas. We know this project could have not advanced to this point without them. The Raiders remain steadfast in honoring Mark Davis’ commitment to Governor Sandoval and the State of Nevada to purse relocation to Las Vegas."
The next step in the process involves Goldman Sachs, and whether or not they will fill the void left by Adelson’s departure. And if so, at what cost?
Adelson had previously pledged $650 million, but presumably, what he was asking for in return was too much for Mark Davis to agree to. So will Goldman Sachs offer that same amount of money? And will they be asking for less in return than whatever Adelson was asking for?
With the Raiders now being asked to pitch in $1.15 billion (Davis was previously being asked to contribute $500 million) as well as pay for the operating costs (the lease had the Raiders with $1 per year for rent), this is going to be a steep hill to climb.
Not to mention the relocation fee.
There was also a time when Adelson said he’d block the Raiders attempt to move to Vegas if he wasn’t involved, and he recently changed his tune on that. We’ll have to wait and see if Adelson holds true to his word.
With less than two months until the vote, Mark Davis and Goldman Sachs will have to agree on a deal that Davis and Adelson couldn’t get done with much more time to negotiate. We’ll see what happens.