On Monday, October 17th, Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis will stand with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, perhaps Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, and other local elected officials (The Mayor of Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman has not put out an official statement about the Nevada Legislature signing the bill that would presumably provide the $750 million bond subsidy for an NFL Stadium), the media will write that ‘the Raiders are putting $500 million into the deal’.Watch. Well, the Raiders don’t have $500 million – or even $400 milion – to put into any deal in Las Vegas.
In 2014, at the NFL Owners Spring League Meeting held in Atlanta, and in Buckhead, Oakland Raiders Owners Mark Davis and I started talking about a stadium in Oakland.
It was my first lengthly conversation about anything with Mr. Davis, and so I was excited to have the chance, even after Oakland Raiders Team President Marc Badain was unusually defensive about me doing so, until I reminded him that as a fellow Oaklander with a long history that almost brought them the Super Bowl, we’re all like family. Badain then relaxed and we all had a cool talk.
I assumed Mark Davis knew the architect of the original Raiders Bond Deal that upgraded the Coliseum and even provided for a new headquarters for the team in Alameda, California, Oakland Assistant City Manager Ezra Rapport.
“No, I don’t know who that is,” Davis said. In fact, as we progressed in our conversation, I realized Mark didn’t know anything about the history of the Raiders with respect to relocation or the Oakland stadium situation at the time. But when it came to present day matters, Davis shifted his attitude gears and said “I know I have $400 million for a stadium in Oakland.”
After we finished our talk, I went over to the press conference room and made this video blog to report the news (beating the NFL Network in the process):
And then broke down what the $400 million would consist of:
- $200 million in the total amount in amortized stadium revenue from club seats and luxury suites he is willing to part with over a period of years – generally about 15 years to 30 years.
- $200 million in NFL G3 (now G4) loan money.
So that, obviously is not money that comes from the Raiders own revenue reserves, and not those of, say, Michaan’s Auctions in Alameda. What’s interesting is, the very next year, that amount jumped from $400 million to $500 million. It wasn’t due to anything other than Mark Davis deciding he was going to add an extra $100 million into the number spiel he was reciting to the media.
So, it was $500 million for San Antonio. And then it was $500 million for Carson. And now it’s $500 million for Las Vegas.
In point of fact, what the Raiders have is nothing, and especially in the Las Vegas case. Zero. And this is so not only because they don’t have a stadium under construction, but they don’t have one even approved. And in the Las Vegas case, the NFL Constitution (and this is noted in several areas of the document) specifically prohibits use of the loan for a project that “involve(s) any relocation of or change in an affected club’s ‘home territory.”
The Raiders “home territory” is Oakland, so from the perspective of the NFL Constitution, Davis can’t even correctly and officially say that the G4 loan money is available to him for the purpose of any Las Vegas Stadium Projects – but it’s certainly there if he works to build a stadium in Oakland.
But in either case, Mark Davis doesn’t have the money – he’s (to use an expression appropriate for Las Vegas) betting on the come.