As of right now, it sure looks like the 2019 season will be the Raiders’ grand finale in Oakland. The NFL approved owner Mark Davis’ application for relocation earlier this year and plans are already in motion to start constructing a new venue for the Raiders in Las Vegas.
But as with pretty much everything of this magnitude, there are sure to be some hiccups along the way. One potential problem for the Raiders could be the lack of a lease for the new state of the art venue in the desert metropolis.
“If you miss the May deadline and push to October (the lease agreement), we would lose a year,” Raiders President Marc Badain said Thursday, via the Las Vegas Sun. “Everybody wants to get this project going. Everybody wants to get these guys to work, so we want to respect that.”
That’s an alarming statement for a higher-up within the Raiders’ organization to make.
The issue here is that both the Raiders and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board are well-equipped to handle real-estate negotiations. Neither one will back down, with the Raiders having dealt with decades of issues in Oakland and the Stadium Authority having worked through hundreds of millions in deals.
The second issue is a bit more convoluted. NFL owners must approve any lease agreement. Owners don’t meet again until October, so if an agreement isn’t finalized by then, the specter of the Raiders having to wait until 2021 becomes more prevalent.
Though, it must also be noted that the Stadium Authority has not necessarily been given a strict do-or-die deadline by the NFL.
“The NFL has directly asked us to attempt to have a lease approved by the owners meeting,” board chairman Steve Hill said. “There has been no ‘get this done or else’ type of approach on this request.”
In reality, this could suggest that owners would be willing to call a special meeting in order to approve a lease agreement. That in and of itself has been a rarity.
Complicating things further is the Raiders’ current year-to-year lease agreement in Oakland. Depending on how the 2017 season plays out with fans in Northern California knowing the Raiders are moving, this could turn very ugly for the NFL. Just think about the Houston Oilers years back and the then Los Angeles Chargers last year.
It’s surely something to keep an eye on.