On March 27, 2017, League membership considered an application from the Oakland Raiders to relocate the club’s home territory to Las Vegas, where the club would play in a new stadium to be built through a public-private partnership.
Under the League’s Policy and Procedures on Proposed Franchise Relocations (the “Guidelines”), the application was reviewed by the NFL Finance and Stadium Committees. Prior to the member clubs meeting to consider the application, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a report addressing the factors identified in the Guidelines as relevant to the member clubs’ evaluation of proposed franchise relocations.
The Commissioner and membership had found in 2016, in the context of considering an application by the Raiders to relocate to Los Angeles, that the Raiders’ current home stadium is not adequate for NFL football, and must be replaced, a conclusion agreed to by the civic leadership in Oakland. Notwithstanding the established preference for clubs to continue to serve their existing fans and communities, the member clubs concluded that the Raiders should be permitted to relocate from Oakland. This conclusion has not changed in the past year. Similarly, the Raiders are not barred by the club’s current lease from relocating to another community.
For more than a decade, the Raiders have worked diligently and in good faith to improve the club’s stadium situation in Oakland. The NFL determined not to accept relocation applications prior to the 2015 season, and the Raiders were not permitted to relocate to Los Angeles prior to the 2016 season. This gave Oakland leadership additional time to address the Raiders’ acknowledged stadium issues. The NFL emphasized that the member clubs would be unlikely to accept contingent or uncertain stadium proposals as a basis for requiring a club that otherwise qualifies for relocation to remain in its home market. The stadium proposals received from Oakland are dependent on various contingencies and involve a number of significant uncertainties that the membership concluded cannot be resolved in a reasonable time. This is true even though the League has long accepted the community’s position that it will not invest public funds into stadium construction.
The proposal to relocate to Las Vegas involves a clearly-defined and well-financed proposal for a first-class stadium in a diverse and growing community that is well-recognized as an entertainment destination. It offers the Raiders a genuine opportunity to resolve longstanding stadium issues and is expected to provide the club with solid future prospects.
After full consideration, the membership approved the relocation of the Raiders’ home territory to Las Vegas.