The plan to relocate the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas cleared a major obstacle on Thursday, when the the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee voted to approve $750 million in taxpayer money for a new stadium.
The vote was unanimous, according to CBS News.
The team isn’t on the move just yet, though, there are still a few more steps it must take before jetting the Bay Area.
Next, the group — which includes the Raiders and the Las Vegas Sands — must receive approval from the governor and state legislature of Nevada.
“I would love to see the Raiders in Las Vegas. I think it would be wonderful,” Gov. Brian Sandoval told the Las Vegas Sun in April. “But it always comes down to money.”
With the passage through committee, it appears that hurdle has been cleared and that it would be unlikely that the proposal falls apart at this point.
The projected cost of the stadium in the desert is $1.9 billion, the Raiders and Sheldon Adelson’s company have committed $1.25 billion if taxpayers can provide the other $750 million. If the plan’s champions ultimately get their way, the public funds would come in the form of a hotel tax up to $750 million. Another $35 million per year would be set aside for operating costs.
The Raiders’ share of the $1.25 billion would be $500 million.
If the proposal makes it through the Nevada state government, NFL owners would then be asked to vote on the team moving to Sin City. Commissioner Roger Goodell previously stated he would not interfere with any move if the other owners — at least 24 of the 32 are required to pass — were on board.
Despite the deal advancing, the Bay Area Council — of which the Raiders are a member — issued the following statement, insisting the region should fight to keep the team in the East Bay.
From Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council:
“We need to call Las Vegas’ bet and fight like crazy to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The Raiders are as much a part of the East Bay and the Bay Area as the Bay Bridge, Mount Diablo or any other iconic fixture from our region. They were born here, they belong here and we should keep them here. The Raiders are an important part of the Bay Area’s rich professional sports history and they contribute immensely to the cultural fabric of our region, to our communities and to our economy. They’ve won three championships here and they’re poised for a resurgence. The Raiders deserve a modern stadium like many other professional teams here that have succeeded in building 21st century facilities. We watched the Raiders leave once and we shouldn’t let them go again without fighting our hardest to keep them.”