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Sheldon Adelson threatens to walk away from Raiders stadium deal

Marshawn Lynch

The Oakland Raiders could very well be on the verge of relocating to Las Vegas. All signs seem to be pointing in this direction after the state of Nevada signed into law a bill helping the Raiders erect a stadium in the desert metropolis. The bill called for $750 million in public financing to help foot the bill for a new state-of-the-art venue.

That’s an absolutely huge step for both the Raiders and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has spearheaded both the political and financial aspects of the deal from Vegas.

However, Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, is now threatening to potentially walk away from the deal.

“I negotiated to bring in the Oakland Raiders, an NFL football team from Oakland, because they don’t have a stadium there, that I would build a stadium and rent it out to the Oakland Raiders,” Adelson said Wednesday from Tel Aviv, via Rueters.

There’s a lot to look at here. Public financing of a stadium wouldn’t be directly linked to Adelson. Though, he would put forth a good chunk of the remaining money to help build the $2 billion-plus venue. The Raiders and owner Mark Davis wouldn’t. That would make it somewhat of a tenant relationship for the Raiders.

This comes on the heels of a report indicating that the NFL has an issue regarding a potential revenue share split between Adelson and the Raiders (more on that here).

The interesting dynamic here is that there’s been a nice amount of pushback from the NFL and owners around the league after Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas seemed inevitable.

A report earlier in October indicated that some power players within the NFL are concerned about the market size of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which is much smaller than the greater Bay Area region in Northern California.

Adelson has history in the real estate business. He knows very well supply and demand. And in this case, the Raiders would have very few options on the table should Adelson walk away from the current deal.

In reality, ramping up the pressure in such a public manner could force Mark Davis and Co. to give in a little bit, primarily when it comes to revenue sharing. That’s heightened by the fact that Davis himself already sounds like his team is moving to the desert (more on that here).

Though, the other issue at hand here is whether the NFL itself would allow that to happen. The league has a responsibility to the other 31 teams, something it can make clear when a vote is taken on relocation down the road.