Raiders Proposal Asks Las Vegas to Let Them Play in New Stadium for Practically Nothing

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Khalil Mack walks with teammates. (Getty)

As part of their on-going attempt to relocate to Las Vegas, the Oakland Raiders have composed a draft of a lease agreement between the franchise and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, who would own the potential new stadium that the Raiders would be the anchor tenant of. In short, it’s a very friendly deal for the Raiders.

Perhaps the friendliest part of the proposed lease is that the Raiders want to pay just $1 in annual rent to the stadium authority.

That “substantial investment” is most likely referring to the cost of relocating the franchise, in addition to the Raiders’ commitment to provide $500 million toward the construction of the new stadium in Las Vegas. While those costs are considerable and legitimate, the details of the Raiders’ proposed lease would allow the team to recoup that money quickly.

According to Ricard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders have worked some other team-friendly clauses into the language of the proposed lease, including but not limited to:

  • The team owning all revenue from the stadium’s naming rights, signage and parking for Raiders games.
  • The team being allowed to operate a team-themed restaurant and a team store year-round, keeping all the profits from both. While the Raiders would also be responsible for all the costs in staffing and running these businesses, the responsibility of the maintaining the spaces they occupy would fall upon the stadium authority as the landlord.
  • The team controlling the selection of concessions vendors and dictating to the stadium authority which, if any, college football games could be played in the venue. The stadium authority would collect revenues from concessions and any college football games, including the parking at college football games, but whether or not they would be played in the stadium would be up to the Raiders. The Raiders would also have the final approval on any field markings related to those college football games.

This is only a draft, and in negotiations it’s common for parties to start out with a high primary bid to give an impression of strength in fighting for their own interests. It’s unlikely that the Raiders expect the stadium authority to accept this offer as is. With that understood, it’s not hard to understand just how friendly of a deal this would be for the Raiders.

In summation, the Raiders want to play in a brand-new stadium that would use $750 million of taxpayer money in its construction and untold further millions in its maintenance (the stadium authority is a government agency), along with keep all the revenues that the stadium’s advertising real estate, a team store, a restaurant, and parking during their games brings. They also want the leverage of picking which concessions vendors and college football game bids will be utilized. In exchange for all of that, their proposed annual return to the taxpayers of the state of Nevada is $1.

It sounds crazy, but there are some teams in the National Football League who pay zero rent to the owners of the stadiums in which they play. Just how close to this proposal the actual lease would end up being, if the Raiders’ bid for relocation is approved that is, will tell how desperate the stadium authority is to get the team in Las Vegas.