Report: NFL approval of Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas uncertain

Mark Davis

The Oakland Raiders and the state of Nevada have pretty much crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s regarding a potential move of the Northern California NFL franchise to Las Vegas.

Relocation itself has passed through all the local and state-wide obstacles in Nevada, culminating in governor Brian Sandoval signing the stadium funding bill into law with Raiders owner Mark Davis in toe.

This comes on the heels of Davis himself pretty much sounding like his franchise has already relocated to the desert metropolis (more on that here).

While certain to be a major point of emphasis in league-wide meetings over the next several months, it’s now being reported that approval of Raiders’ relocation isn’t etched in stone.

“Several people familiar with the owners’ views said this week there are potential problems with a Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, not all of them related to the city’s status as the nation’s gambling capital,” The Washington Post‘s Mark Maske reported on Tuesday. “The relatively small size of the Las Vegas market would be a significant concern to some owners, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no formal relocation application has been filed.”

It’s an interesting dynamic to look at. While the Las Vegas market itself is small, Clark County, where the major city is located, is growing substantially. The other aspect to look at here is push back the Raiders themselves may receive from the league for getting into bed with Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Not only does Adelson have some questionable past relationships, the NFL seems to be taking issue with a potential revenue share split (more on that here).

Anyone close to the situation here figured it would be a more tricky proposition for an NFL team to move to Vegas, especially in comparison to the Rams’ recent relocation to Los Angeles.

Though, it’s also important to note that some key owners have come out in support of the idea. And that right there is the key. It’s the league’s 32 team owners that will be voting on potential relocation, not suits in New York City.

If it is indeed a market issue, things become a bit more convoluted.

“I think in general we don’t like to leave big markets for small markets,” a high-ranking official with one NFL team told the Post. “That’s as big as anything. I think most people are not crazy about that.”

Once owner’s bottom lines are impacted, things can change in a heartbeat.

As of right now, the Las Vegas metropolitan area lags far behind the Oakland area in terms of both population and media market. That could potentially impact the league’s bottom line.