Putting an end to three months of speculation, Sheldon Adelson (pictured) and his family officially withdrew as investors in a proposal to build a $1.9 billion domed stadium on forty-two acres near the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
In a statement to the Adelson-family owned Las Vegas Review-Journal late on Monday, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO reportedly said that his family “will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”
The soon-to-be 84-year-old casino magnate threatened to put an end to his participation in October after a disagreement with the Oakland Raiders organization regarding the terms of the deal. “They want so much,” Adelson said at the time, “So I told my people, “Tell them I could live with the deal, I could live without the deal. Here’s the way it’s going to go down. If they don’t want it, bye-bye.” The original plan would have seen Adelson contribute $650 million and the Raiders organization would kick in $500 million, with the state of Nevada being responsible for the remaining $750 million, which would come from a Clark County hotel room tax revenue.
The Raiders issued a statement indicating the team still plans to relocate to Sin City, “The Raiders deeply appreciate the efforts of the Adelson family to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas. We know this project could not have advanced to that point without them,” and, “The Raiders remain steadfast in honoring Mark Davis’ commitment to Governor Sandoval and the state of Nevada to pursue relocation in Las Vegas,” as reported by CBS Sports.com.
Anticipating Adelson’s exit, on Jan. 11, the same week the NFL franchise officially filed for relocation from its current home at the Oakland Coliseum to Las Vegas, the Raiders met with NFL officials and presented a funding plan for the stadium that did not include Adelson’s $650 million contribution. The alternative plan included help from global investment banking, securities and investment management firm Goldman Sachs, who the Raiders said would help to finance the remaining $650 million in the event Adelson backed out of the deal, according to the CBS report.
In Adelson’s statement, he reportedly said that the Raider’s submission on Thursday of a proposed lease agreement to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority surprised him and that it has “sent shock waves through our community.” He said, “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,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Since its inception, the stadium financing plan and relocation has been controversial, with a major concern of the NFL being the fact that the stadium deal involved an individual with ties to the casino industry. Now that Adelson is out of the picture, the Raiders may have an easier time securing the required three-fourths majority vote from the NFL’s 32 league owners to approve relocating the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas.
There are owners meetings scheduled for March and May this year, which means there is a good chance the relocation vote will happen at one of those two meetings.