Raiders get lease done in Vegas, new stadium just needs to clear one more hurdle

The biggest hurdle standing between the Raiders and their move to Las Vegas was finally cleared on Thursday when the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board unanimously approved the team's lease at their soon-to-be-built $1.9 billion stadium in Southern Nevada.  

As recently as one week ago, it didn't look like the lease was going to get done in time for Thursday's meeting, which would've been a disaster for everyone involved.

If the lease hadn't been approved on Thursday, there was a good chance that the stadium in Vegas would have been delayed a year, meaning it would open in 2021, instead of 2020. 

The reason the lease had to be approved by Thursday is because NFL owners also need to approve the lease, and the Raiders wanted that to happen at the league's spring meeting, which is being held May 22-24 in Chicago. The owners' approval is the final remaining hurdle that needs to be cleared before the stadium project can move forward. 

As Raiders president Marc Badain recently explained, If the stadium lease hadn't been approved on Thursday, the Raiders wouldn't have been able to get approval from NFL owners until October, when they're scheduled to meet again. 

"In order to approve a lease, you need full membership, and the league has four meetings a year: one in March, one in May, one in October and one in December," Badain said on May 11. "So, if you miss the May deadline, you push to October, we would lose a year, and everybody wants to get this project going, everybody wants to get these guys to work. So we didn't want to miss that deadline."

Coincidentally, the Raiders hit their deadline on the same day that the Chargers and Rams found out their stadium was going to be delayed. 

Earlier on Thursday, the Rams announced that their new $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, California is going to be delayed a year and won't open until 2020, meaning that in three years, the NFL's going to be getting two brand new stadiums that are separated by less than 300 miles. 

The Raiders' lease in Vegas runs for 30 years, which means the team will be locked to Sin City through the 2049 season. To put that in perspective, the Raiders have never stayed in one city for 30 years straight. 

After the initial 30 years are up, the team will have the option to sign a five-year extension a total of four times, meaning they can conceivably add up to 20 years to the lease. 

One other notable aspect of the lease is that the stadium can't be used for any gaming or gambling activities, meaning if you want to bet on the Raiders, you better do it at your hotel before you head to the game. 

The lease also prohibits any type of massage parlor or any sexually-themed commercial enterprises, so don't look for any Raiders-themed brothels at the new stadium. 

Once NFL owners officially approve the lease, which is expected to be a formality, that will pave the way for construction to begin, something that's expected to happen in January 2018. 

The stadium authority recently released a timeline that shows an expected completion date of June 2020. 

The stadium will be built on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, near Mandalay Bay, at a spot where the Raiders just dropped $77.5 million for a 62-acre chunk of land.

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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