LAS VEGAS – (Wire Service Report by The Sports Xchange) – The Oakland Raiders took an important step toward having a Las Vegas stadium ready for the 2020 season when the Las Vegas Stadium Authority unanimously approved a conditional lease agreement for the team on Thursday, multiple media outlets reported.
It was important to get the approval this week because Raiders president Marc Badain had said recently that appearing at the NFL owners meetings, which begin Monday in Chicago, without a lease could delay the team’s move to Las Vegas by a year. The next opportunity to present a lease would not be until the following owners meeting in October.
The Raiders would like to begin construction of the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium this summer.
“It means we go to the league meetings in Chicago with a lease and hopefully get it approved and stay on pace for a 2020 opening,” Badain told ESPN.com.
Owners can now vote on ratifying the lease at this month’s meetings. The owners approved the team’s proposed move to Las Vegas by a 31-1 vote in March, although the owners still wanted to see a lease agreement, design plans and other approvals needed for construction on the 62-acre plot near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The Raiders will share the stadium with UNLV’s football team.
The Raiders have two one-year leases at the Oakland Coliseum and plan on playing there in 2017 and 2018.
It remains uncertain where the team will play in 2019. Raiders owner Mark Davis does not want to move to Las Vegas until the dome is complete. He does not want to play a season at UNLV’s 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium.