The Raiders may still be planning to leave Oakland for Las Vegas, but they'll have to do so without Sheldon Adelson's deep pockets. Last month, the billionaire Las Vegas Sands CEO backed out of the $1.9 billion Vegas stadium project.
According to Andy Abboud, the vice president of government relations and community affairs for Las Vegas Sands, Adelson thought the Raiders were taking advantage of him.
"(Adelson) was willing to share revenues and make it financially mutually beneficial, but they were picking his pocket," Abboud said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I think that they felt they were asking to be entitled to revenue streams and things that simply made the deal unworkable. It was never about the financial return for the Adelsons, but the Adelson family wasn't going to have their pocket picked, by the Raiders or by the NFL or anybody."
Abboud continued: "We just kept hearing conflicting stories about how we could do it and how the NFL owners felt about it. We felt it was conceivable that they were using that as a tool for manipulation. I don't know."
As CBSSports.com's John Breech wrote last week, without Adelson, the Raiders also lost out on the chance to finance the $650 million deal through Goldman Sachs, the investment firm that has worked closely with Adelson in the past. But Raiders president Marc Badain offered reassurances at a recent Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board that "financing will not be an issue."
Badain added: "We're in an industry where we're used to plugging along, and we're used to having starts and stops. [Raiders owner] Mark Davis made a commitment to Gov. Sandoval, and we intend to see that through."
Meanwhile, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported on Jan. 30 that the Raiders' biggest issue with finding someone to finance the stadium is that Adelson is a powerful figure in Vegas and the concern is that he may use that power to make life difficult for the Raiders, especially if he feels like the team double-crossed him.
For the Raider to relocate, they'll need to convince 23 other owners they can afford to take on $650 million in debt to finance the stadium. The Raiders will also have to reveal how the stadium will be financed. Silver lining: With Adelson out of the picture, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might be more amenable to the move. Goodell said at the Super Bowl that the league didn't want a casino owner involved with owning the team or financing a stadium.
"The Raiders have not asked for us to compromise those rules as it relates to our policies," Goodell said when asked about the league's policy on a casino owner also owning part of the stadium or team. "We will continue to have that separation going forward. I don't see an ownership position in a team from a casino. That is not something consistent with our policies. Not likely a stadium, either."