Raiders could have new evil billionaire to partner with on Vegas stadium

Wednesday’s NFL meeting about the Oakland Raiders‘ possible relocation to Las Vegas was a big bust as far as actual news goes, with the exception of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II’s cryptic statement that “the Raiders are looking at this potentially going without Mr. Adelson.” We now have some indication of what that was all about, though, as a Las Vegas stadium authority consultant reported yesterday that Raiders owner Mark Davis thinks he has another option for raising money if he can’t come to an agreement with casino baron Sheldon Adelson:

“The team’s presentation highlighted its research that the Las Vegas market can support the team, that bringing the NFL to the market aligns with the league’s strategic goals and that Goldman Sachs is committed to financing the project with or without a third party,” [Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis] said.

“The Raiders told the committees that there is no deal in place yet with the Adelson family and that the team is pursuing approval with no third-party involvement,” Aguero said. “However, if an accord with the Adelson family is reached later, the team would bring that back for league approval.”

This makes sense: If building a Las Vegas stadium (with $750 million of it paid for by taxpayers) is a good deal for Adelson, it’s likely to be a good one for Goldman Sachs as well. Though it’s important to note that Goldman would only be the financier here — Davis would have to borrow the money and repay it later. Still, if he’d rather make annual loan payments than share revenues and potentially team ownership with Adelson, sure, go for the vampire squid, or at least pursue it as an option so you have some leverage with your prospective partner.

The big question is whether that $750 million is still on the table if Adelson is no longer involved. I’ve looked at all the reports on the legislation and been unable to tell whether the money is contingent on it going to Adelson, or if it’s just free-floating money that can go to anyone looking to build an NFL stadium. It would certainly be ironic if Adelson ended up putting in all this lobbying effort, including buying the local newspaper, only to get shoved unceremoniously aside. Though if you believe the scuttlebutt that Adelson only did this to block hotel tax money from going to a convention center that would compete with his, maybe he won’t care so much, especially after the convention center got its money anyway.

And yes, all this is a dumb way to decide which cities get pro sports franchises. In case you were wondering.

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20 comments on “Raiders could have new evil billionaire to partner with on Vegas stadium

  1. It’d be hard to be more evil than Sheldon Adelson – Monty Burns? Nah….I think Vegas people would be cool with blocking out the sun.

  2. Politics always get in the.way the Raiders and las vegas is a good match vegas is wanting to be more family friendly and known for more than gambling the Raiders need a fan base that embraces them Oakland has proven repeatedly that they don’t care

    1. How has Oakland show they don’t support the Raiders? If you’re expecting the city (especially in California) to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a stadium, you’re obviously on the wrong website.

    2. Vegas tried the “family friendly” thing back in the 90s. It was a disaster. They are back to the Sin City branding.

      Not that this argues for or against the Raiders moving there. It just is.

      1. That is correct. Even the Circus Circus is changing their strategy in attracting more “sinful” dollars. That mega-resort family theme was an utter disaster.

  3. There was I time I enjoyed going to Las Vegas, but that was when the mob ran things. Rooms were cheap and clean, food was cheap and good, gambling still a losing bet for the tourist. Since the corporations muscled them out with money and political cover, the place has become expensive, unhappy, and unethical.

    1. The recession provided really great values if you were still standing with any money left during the midst of it. They overbuilt on luxury end hotels and so you could stay at Encore for under $100 a night. Middle class people who weren’t awash in housing debt were able to live like high class people for a few years.

      1. But why? I mean you walk 3 blocks off the strip and you’re suddenly in Detroit. OK, worse than Detroit…at least Detroit has history and character under its crime, poverty and decay.

        Las Vegas is a pit.

  4. Living here I can tell you there is absolutely no way the deal currently constructed gets done without Adelson’s involvement. First off, the convention center expansion deal got the go ahead due to Adelson removing the threat of litigation. That money comes from the same hotel tax increase the stadium is suppose to come from. Second, the prevailing belief here is since Goldman may be financing Adelson’s portion, why don’t they just finance the whole damn thing; which brings me to point Number 3: the Oakland option. If Davis always could go the Goldman route, why wasn’t this used with Oakland? The NFL in the arrogance and outright greed honestly think they will have access to $750 million without one of the major architects being involved?

    Davis and the NFL is trying to pull a fast one on Adelson but they don’t understand how this city works. The rich here may fight amongst themselves, but they will unite to fight outsiders; and Davis and the NFL are outsiders. Mark my words, Rooney, Davis, and the rest of them better be careful because this time they are not dealing with clueless politicians; they’re dealing with sharks on their own territory.

    1. They couldn’t use this in Oakland because nobody was offering them $750 million in Oakland. Goldman is going to be less interested in financing an NFL stadium if it has to pay its own way, since it probably can’t.

      (Inglewood caveat noted.)

    2. The city of Oakland has a band on working with Goldman Sachs, because the city made a deal with Goldman Sachsin the late 90s that cost Oakland $100s of millions. Oakland feels Goldman Sachs screwed Oakland intentionally. But Oakland has offered to take out a loan for a stadium if the Raiders would take responsibly to pay back the loan. Oakland has also spent more than $10million in attracting 3 party investors since 2012. But the Oakland Raiders where only interested in a minimum of $350mill in public subsidies for stadium construction . Oakland as resently offered $150 mill in land and around $200mil in infrastructure improvement.


    That’s the entirety of Senate Bill 1, passed in the special session to allow for the $750 million. Adelson’s name is nowhere to be found. For him or any other sharks to kill the deal at this point, they’d need another legislative deal, which is always possible, but something that will have to be passed in the light of day. Bottom line is the $750 million that was allowed to breeze through with Adelson’s assistance is 100% authorized at this point whether he’s involved or not. Whether that’s Mark Davis getting the best of him or because he was ultimately fine with it potentially getting done without him is anybody’s guess. (For the record, I still assume a final deal will be done between Adelson and Davis.)

    1. True but as you know that means little in the way of how things really work in this state. Of course Adelson’s name isn’t on the bill; that would be formally recognizing the cronyism that already exist. Everyone knows who’s the driving force behind it. The bill will get overturned or lawsuits will happen.

      Mark my words (no pun intended); if Adelson is cut out this thing will get real messy.

    2. If Adelson is cut out of this thing, he may actually turn around and sue the state to stop it. After all, it’s his customer base that’s being asked the shoulder the tax burden.

      1. Even if he didn’t sue he’s not an enemy you want to have in any town, let alone Vegas itself.

  6. “Raiders to file relocation papers to move from Oakland to Vegas”

    Wow! This is from the NFL’s own site.

  7. For a billionaire, Adelson didn’t think this through very well. If the whole end play for him was securing part ownership the time to get that locked in was BEFORE all the public money was approved. Without that locked in it opened the way for Davis to pursue better financing options and cut Adelson out. Crazy he didn’t anticipate that happening.

    He’s now in the boat where he’d need to threaten to undo the deal he created but not push things so far where the deal actually fell apart. He’s also had the local newspaper which he owns running pro-Raiders stories 24/7 so he’d have to totally reverse course on that and try to change public opinion that he’d already changed in the first place.

    1. Possibly, although the people on here who are more familiar with Adelson’s history than I am seem to think he can and will stop it if he isn’t the primary beneficiary.

      But it’s not like we haven’t seen famous wealthy people hold contradictory positions on single issues as and when it pleases them to do so. #inauguration

      1. He’d literally need to undo things he’s already done. He was badgering all the politicians to approve this deal–it’s not that easy even for the resident evil billionaire to get politicians to reverse course. They’re worried about re-election and what plausible reason is he going to provide them for flip-flopping to help them save face? Adelson may not care if the media jumps all over him for changing his mind–he owns the newspaper there, anyway–but guaranteed the politicians will care about that.

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