A casino giant just took the first step toward luring an NFL team to Vegas

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked this week about the chances of a team relocating to Las Vegas, Goodell didn't dismiss the idea, but he did say he wanted to see a "hard proposal" first.  

Thanks to the Las Vegas Sands casino group, that proposal could be coming sooner than expected.

The casino giant went in front of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee on Thursday night and presented the initial plans for a $1.3 billion stadium in Vegas that would sit less than a mile from the strip. 

Although the 65,000-seat stadium would serve as a home to UNLV football, the company's ultimate plan would be to bring in an NFL team, according to Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldstein.

"I think it's short-sighted not to think that the NFL is a possibility," Goldstein told the committee, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It's not a done deal, but it's at least possible. If we can get an NFL team here, it's an important step forward for tourism and for Las Vegas. We're no longer persona non grata with the NFL."

The Raiders, obviously, were mentioned as serious candidates. Over the past two months, Raiders owner Mark Davis has met with both Sands CEO Sandy Alderson and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval

One of the NFL's biggest issues with putting a team in Vegas is that the league is staunchly against gambling and Sin City is basically the gambling capital of the world. 

"We'd have to understand [gambling], we'd have to understand what the impact is on us and ultimately each owner would have a vote on that," Goodell said at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday. "That would be a factor that I think many owners would have to balance, the league would have to balance."

Any potential relocation would have to be approved by at least 24 owners. 

As for the stadium in Vegas, under the Sands' current proposal, about $780 million of the $1.3 billion would be publicly funded. A room tax that would hit the pocketbooks of tourists is one of the taxes being considered, which means Nevadans wouldn't be paying for the stadium. 

After the stadium is built, it would bring in an estimated "$785.6 million in direct and indirect spending," according to a Sands representative at the meeting. The building would also be able to host about 26 events a year that Vegas can't currently host because there's no building big enough. Stadium concert tours would fall under that category.

According to the Review-Journal, the Sands' stadium proposal really only had one downside: The land where the stadium would be built is close to McCarran Airport. 

As CBSSports.com documented in late January, the stadium site is literally right next door to McCarran Airport. In the clip below, you can see the airport, followed by the 42-acre stadium site, followed by the strip.

Although the stadium location could present an issue, the director of the Clark County Department of Aviation, Rosemary Vassiliadis, said that the FAA probably wouldn't keep the Sands from building a stadium. However, she did add that traffic near the airport could be an issue and that if the stadium does get built, it could mean less takeoffs and landings from McCarran, which would mean less people getting in and out of Vegas. 

On the bright side, since the stadium would be so close to the airport, Raiders fans in both Oakland and Los Angeles could literally make a day trip to Vegas on game day. Flying into Vegas early Sunday and flying out late Sunday costs less than a $100 roundtrip out of both cities. 

The tourism committee is scheduled to meet again next month, when the Sands is expected to give a more detailed proposal. 

Will Mark Davis move his team to Vegas? (USATSI)
Will Mark Davis move his team to Vegas? (USATSI)

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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