Tax raid goes forward

NFL team owners voted on March 27 to allow the Raiders to move from Oakland to Las Vegas, where a $2 billion domed stadium is planned for the 2020 season.

It’s the third team to abandon its city recently—the Rams and Chargers left St. Louis and San Diego, both for Los Angeles. And it’s the third move for the Raiders, which moved to Los Angeles in 1982, then back to Oakland in 1995, and now to Las Vegas.

The change will more than double the distance Truckee Meadows residents must travel to see a Raiders game in person.

The move was facilitated by two cave-ins, one by Democrats at an October special session of the Nevada Legislature, the other by owners this week. Democrats initially said they were skeptical of $750 million in welfare for the Las Vegas stadium, but in the end there was no major effort to stop the tax subsidy. And when the legislators approved the deal, owners were reported ready to vote it down, but their stance eroded over the months since. The New York Times suggested the reason was that there is evidence that with naming rights, sponsorships and other revenue-generating gimmicks, “moving a team often reaps a financial reward” even in a time when the audience for football is in decline—“ratings for every one of the league’s major television partners declined this season.”

The Raiders will depart the number 6 television market in the nation for the 40th, with a concomitant loss of income

Right up to the last minute, Oakland and its supporters worked on a possible deal to keep the team, but in the latest permutation, the venture capital firm Fortress would have been involved in ownership, and team owner Mark Davis has insisted on not taking on new partners.

The vote of the owners was 31 to one, with the Miami Dolphins the lone dissenter.