Adelson tells Davis to get his filthy hands off his $750m, could blow up Vegas Raiders deal

Last week, following the Nevada legislature’s vote to approve $750 million in subsidies for a stadium to bring the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, I wrote that “the only people who can save Nevada from this expense now are the other 31 NFL owners.” Which seemed true at the time — but then, I hadn’t considered the possibility of the recipients of the $750 million turning against each other over how to split the loot, but that’s exactly what seems to be happening:

“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 on Wednesday during a travel technology conference in Tel Aviv.

Adelson, who succeeded this month in getting legislation passed to enable the construction of the stadium, said his problems now involve negotiations with the Raiders.

“They want so much,” he said. “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 gonna go down. If they don’t want it, bye-bye,'” he said.

What the hell, man! I understand that lease talks can be difficult — especially when you’re deciding how to split a ten-digit stadium construction cost, plus the revenues that would help pay it off — but seriously, you didn’t think to work any of this out before asking the legislature for $750 million? The Adelson-Davis partnership always seemed like a marriage of convenience — Adelson wanted to grab any available state hotel-tax cash before it was spent on a convention center expansion, while Davis wanted a city that would offer him lots of stadium money like Oakland was refusing to do — but you’d think they’d at least have talked about the terms of a prenup.

Whether Adelson is genuinely ready to blow up the whole deal or is just trying to shake Davis down for a bigger cut of stadium revenues is unknown. (And it could be both, really.) But this is not the kind of development that is going to make those other 31 NFL owners say, “Hey, Las Vegas, welcome to the club!” There are clearly more twists and turns to come, but a Las Vegas Raiders franchise suddenly seems a lot less likely than it did yesterday morning.

29 comments on “Adelson tells Davis to get his filthy hands off his $750m, could blow up Vegas Raiders deal

  1. Who did Davis think he was getting in bed with? Also… even money that “San Antonio” and “NFL” start appearing in headlines before election day.

  2. The NFL needs to be more careful than ever who they “do business with” moving forward. Too many PR hits lately along with declining TV ratings. If there are already issues with Adleson v Davis at this early stage of the stadium game, I can only imagine it will get worse down the road.

  3. And there it is. Remember I said there is no way Adelson is going to give Davis the goodies he wants without an equity stake in the Raiders. Well here it is. Adelson is a businessman first and foremost. The NFL is so accustomed to being in control of everything they automatically assumed the stadium would be handed over to them. Wrong!

    There is no way Adelson is going to hand over operational control of the stadium to Davis or the NFL. This is a problem they didn’t foresee, as this is the first stadium in which the developer and owner are not the same person. Funding mechanisms for new NFL stadiums is public and owner, even if owner takes on additional debt via bank or bridge loans. The proposed Vegas deal one is public, developer and owner. Developer wants to get paid market rate. Owner is used to paying nothing and receiving all the revenues. In this case, owner is dependent on a NFL building fund that is broke and may not be replenished until 2021, and PSL sales that are non-existent without a stadium. Developer has all the leverage.

    Either Davis gives Adelson a piece of the pie or pay rent at market value. Otherwise, I truly believe Adelson walks. This is a man who is still fighting with the LVCVA and it’s been 20+ years.

    • Adelson already knows the NFL doesn’t want him to have a piece of the team, and if the project dies, the tax money from the stadium bill instead goes to LVCC renovation/remodel, which *he* doesn’t want.

      Leaking to the media has been a negotiating tactic of his for years. He’s shaking down Mark Davis for all he can get. In Oakland, the Lott/Fortress group seems to want substantial public funding in the vein of tax money (long-term tax relief or tax increment funding), which they’ve had to know for months is not going to happen. Davis is stuck between a rock and a place-with-no-money.

    • My thinking is his passion for it dwindled when the legislature could only build the necessary majority by attaching Convention Center expansion in there. He wanted one without the other.

  4. If Sheldon waves bye-bye to Mark, Sheldon wins big. The way I understand SB1 is if the NFL/Raiders don’t locate a team there in about 2 yrs. the funding is reduced but the money will be allocated to a stadium for UNLV – if UNLV comes up with $200mil. Previously Sheldon has tried to get a stadium built for UNLV but the proposal was turned down. So now, the funding has been approved and Sheldon has a choice, does he spend $650mil for a NFL stadium when he could get away with donating $200mil to UNLV and still get a nice stadium out it?

  5. If Las Vegas does not get a publicly funded NFL style arena it will destroy the tourism industry there.

  6. This was always Sheldon Adelson’s baby. Mark Davis can’t move politicians in Oakland so you know he couldn’t move a fly in Nevada. Every politician that voted for the 750 million did it because they are bought and paid for for by their sugar daddy. The money goes to Adelson and that is why he called it his stadium and why he was going to “rent” it to the RAIDERS. Mark Davis wants a new stadium not only for the team to play in but to make mad money. Parking, concessions, tickets and suites is what Mark wants and Adelson is not going to give $1.4 billion (that’s right, I’m lumping the 750 with his 650) so that he get a small piece of the pie while MD who contribute very little gets it all. This will be interesting.

  7. Wait, who’s jacking up who now? I thought only us NFL guys got to do that, lol. I tip my cap to Adelson, as any good extortionist must when he encounters a true peer at work.

    Laid bare at long last is the real reason my Club of 32 brethren are wary of being in Vegas – those sharks have teeth as big as ours! We love what gambling does for our sport but to actually have a team in Sin City? Meh… not so much.

    Leave it to old Bowl Cut to actually wade into that swamp and go for broke. I credit him for trying to find a little leverage with the gangsters back in Oaktown, but sadly he doesn’t have half of his father’s chutzpah or brains.

  8. To quote George Clooney’s character from ‘Intolerable Cruelty’, “It’s a negotiation.”

    • To quote Lando Calrissian from “Empire Strikes Back”: “This deal’s getting worse all the time!”

      • To quote, the Dark Lord of the Sith; “I’m altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.”

        • I’m glad we got two superb quotes from The Empire Strikes Back, and none from the other six overrated Star Wars movies.

    • I agree that it is a negotiation, but the opening gambit from the Davis family is so lacking in credibility as to be exposed immediately. He really has very little leverage other than the (very valuable!) ownership of an NFL franchise.

      Other than a new building, he’d probably get a better deal out of staying in Oakland. Even being the 2nd team in LA under these circumstances would possibly be a better setup.

  9. Adelson may be knocking on Death’s door with one wheel already in the grave, but he’s determined to line his pockets with even more and then figure a way to take it with him!

  10. I was wondering for a while what was in this for Adelson?

    There has been no mention of lease terms and who would own the stadium. Which is awfully strange when it comes to stadium deals.

    Mark Davis being the poor spoiled rich kid he is (his mother Carol technically owns the team), and poor businessman put the horse before the cart and it is showing up now big time.

    Adelson is no philanthropist, he is a evil rich casino mogul who when he sees he cannot control something will tear it down a ala FanDuel and DraftKings or DFS.

    He says it is gambling, what a bafoon, goes to show how greedy he is.

    Mark Davis made his bed with a devil in disguise and he now knows it full well.

    Now Adelson says he is going to rent out the stadium to the Raiders? When did this come up? Wait! Just now. SMH

    I am sure greedy Lew Wolff is dying right now, every time the Raiders try to leave the Coliseum they get put right back on his head. Serves him right!

  11. 500 million from Davis, 650 from Las the Vegas gizzard, and 750 Las Vegas hmm, seems to me the old millionaire gizzard wanted in the action, 750 million up for grabs, screw this bad deal, Los Angeles here we come, The Chargers aren’t getting their ComVadium either , so they still have 3 months to decide if they Bolt out of San Diego to LA, who knows when it’s all said and done, it just might be the “California Raiders” or “San Diego Raiders”

    • I think the Raiders will be the second team in Los Angeles. Fox has an NFC outlet in L.A. once again with the Rams. CBS probably wants an AFC outlet for themselves as well.

      I highly doubt that the Chargers will leave S.D. to relocate up north to L.A. Besides, the Chargers (and Padres) for that matter don’t have much of a fan base in Los Angeles, Imperial & Riverside counties.

      • Well if he (Mark) let’s this Vegas train ride out, He could miss his window to LA. Only has till January till that deal expires.

    • So, Schaaf has the “framework” of a deal with Lott. But what does Davis think of it?