Las Vegas is fairly new to the business of being a potential host for professional football, but the group that’s trying to bring the Raiders there is already employing a good old-fashioned NFL shakedown.
According to the Associated Press, the group headed by Sheldon Adelson told a local oversight committee last night that they needed no less than $750 million of public money for the project, and would walk away from their project if they don’t get it.
“Not to be difficult, but we’re not negotiable,” said Sands president Rob Goldstein, who spoke on behalf of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his family. “If we can’t get 750, we respectfully thank you but we’re going to move on.”
Of course, there are critics of the plan, as there are every place when NFL business is built on the back of public money.
“There’s been a lot of conversation on why are we giving money to billionaires,” said Steve Hill, chairman of the oversight committee and head of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “The public is not making a contribution to a privately owned stadium.”
Goldstein said the total cost of the project was going to be $1.9 billion, and he said the list of proposed sites was down to two. They also showed off renderings of a proposed 65,000-seat domed stadium.
The Raiders haven’t been able to get their current hometown to come up with $500 million toward keeping them in Oakland, and have been working on Las Vegas in earnest, even applying to trademark “Las Vegas Raiders.”
Adelson and his company are also trying to rush the project through a September special legislative session, so they can secure the funding before the next NFL owners meeting in January.