By Jason Green, Bay Area News Group
LAS VEGAS — An emerging effort to keep the Raiders in Oakland is drawing mixed reaction from elected officials in Las Vegas, where owner Mark Davis has committed to moving the football team and lawmakers have agreed to chip in $750 million for a new stadium.
[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Announced Friday, the plan calls for a $1.25 billion, 55,000-seat stadium at the Coliseum site, as well as a possible new ballpark for the A’s and a large commercial development.
Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission in Nevada, said he was not worried about Davis changing his mind. Sisolak served on the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, which backed the proposal to pluck the Raiders from Oakland.
“I’ve been dealing with both (team president) Marc Badain and Mark Davis regularly over the past almost two years now,” said Sisolak, who strongly supports the Raiders moving to Las Vegas. “I’ve found them both to be men of great integrity. They’ve committed that their plan is to move the team to Las Vegas as long as we could build a stadium.”
But fellow Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said a competing bid to keep the team in Oakland is exactly what she expected.
“The reality was that Oakland was never going to let the Raiders go,” said Giunchigliani, a harsh critic of the Nevada Legislature’s approval of a hotel room tax hike that would provide a large chunk of the funding needed to build a 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas.
Giunchigliani said it isn’t sports she has a problem with.
“I don’t believe in public financing for these kinds of things,” she said. “It just is irresponsible and it doesn’t ever pencil out for the constituents, and that’s who my concern is with.”
A source familiar with funding for the plan announced Friday said $200 million would come from the NFL and $300 million from the Raiders. The rest is from an investment group headed by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and money-management firm Fortress Investment Group.
Ultimately, any plan to move the team to Las Vegas would have to be approved by three-quarters of NFL owners
If the Raiders end up staying in Oakland, the Clark County Stadium Authority would need to cast a two-thirds vote to disband, but Giunchigliani doesn’t see that happening.
Steve Hill, chairman of the authority and director of the Nevada Governor’s Office on Economic Development, declined to comment for this story.
Sisolak said he understood why Alameda County and Oakland want to retain the Raiders, but there is a “huge appetite for NFL football” in Las Vegas.
“I don’t blame Oakland for not wanting to lose the Raiders,” he said. “They’ve got a strong fan base in Oakland but they’ve developed a very strong fan base in Nevada very quickly.”
The authority held its first meeting Monday and is weighing two possible locations, Sisolak said.
“The state of Nevada and Clark County have taken significant steps to make it possible to build a stadium and have the Raiders come,” Sisolak said, “and I think that’s the path we’re still on.”