Lease agreement for Vegas stadium still weeks away
LAS VEGAS — The lease agreement for a proposed Las Vegas NFL stadium will not be ready before league owners meet later this month, when they could potentially vote on whether to approve the relocation of the Oakland Raiders.
Members of the board that oversees the proposed stadium gathered Thursday in Las Vegas to discuss some of the terms they would like to see in the agreement. They made one thing clear: A final lease agreement for the proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium won’t be reached within weeks.
“There’s been a little bit of discussion about the timing necessity of the lease, and certainly, we are going to work expeditiously in order to get that lease done,” Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board chairman Steve Hill said. “But I also want to say that we are not going to rush that process.”
Three-quarters of the league’s owners must approve the Raiders’ relocation, and they could decide without a lease agreement being finalized. A vote could come at the owners meetings in Phoenix at the end of March.
The team has told the board at a previous meeting that the owners wanted to see progress on the agreement and financing before the vote.
“My sense is that the approval will probably come, if it comes, with some conditions around what’s important to the NFL around what the content of that lease would be,” Hill said after the meeting.
It came the same week the team presented to the NFL a new financing proposal backed by Bank of America. The Raiders sought a new partner after casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew a $650 million pledge last month.
Hotel room tax revenue from the city is slated to pay $750 million toward construction, while the Raiders and NFL would pay the remaining $500 million.
The team has presented the stadium authority board with a lease proposal that covers the Raiders’ use of the stadium, luxury box seats, concession sales, ticket revenue, merchandise and parking. It suggested $1 a year in rent.
The team has been looking for a new stadium for years as it seeks to move out of the outdated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
which is the only stadium used by both an NFL and Major League Baseball team and is unable to generate the revenue for the Raiders the way more modern stadiums around the league can.
The Las Vegas board heard Thursday from the Houston-based attorney it hired for negotiations. Among the issues discussed were provisions that could be included in the deal that would guarantee the stadium features branding from the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ football team, which would play home games there.
“That’s obviously a big concern to UNLV,” board member Mike Newcomb said. “They want the fans coming in to see the UNLV Rebels in the end zone.”
Under the proposed lease agreement, the Raiders would have to approve any field markings.
“The team shall use reasonable efforts to support collegiate field markings, but the team shall have no obligation to compromise its field markings or field conditions for collegiate games at any time,” documents say.
The mayor of Oakland, the team’s current city, made a presentation Monday to league committees in hopes of persuading owners to prevent the Raiders from moving.
The Raiders paid $3.5 million in rent to play at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2016, up from $925,000 for the 2015 season. The team has options to remain at the stadium for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
A site has not been picked for proposed Sin City stadium, although a parcel of land near the Las Vegas Strip has emerged as a preferred location.