MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Commissioner Roger Goodell says there is “still a lot of work to be done” before the NFL considers Las Vegas as a possible destination for a franchise.
Goodell was asked if the league was open to Las Vegas as an NFL market before the Minnesota Vikings hosted the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, three days after a Nevada oversight committee voted to recommend spending $750 million in public money on an NFL stadium. The project is being discussed to lure the Raiders away from Oakland.
Goodell said the decision ultimately would come down to getting the approval of 24 owners, but he stressed that they are a long way from getting to that point and also expressed hope that the Raiders could find a stadium solution to remain in Oakland.
“There’s still a lot that has to happen before we would get to that stage,” Goodell said of the owners approving Las Vegas as an NFL city. “Recognizing that they came out of committee with a bill, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to improve that recommendation.”
He said he is still evaluating whether having a team play in a casino-filled city is a good idea.
Goodell was in Minnesota to help the Vikings host their grand opening of U.S. Bank Stadium, a $1.1 billion facility that included more than $450 million in public financing. If Oakland cannot come up with a public-private partnership on a new stadium like Minnesota did, it risks losing the Raiders for a second time.
The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee recommended raising the hotel tax in the Las Vegas area to help pay for a 65,000-seat domed venue that would be home to the Raiders and the UNLV football team. Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pledged $650 million toward the project.
“Well, you never want to see a community lose their franchise once, much less twice,” Goodell said. “That’s why we work so hard with our communities to say, ‘This is what you have to try to get to,’ because you need to try to make sure this franchise continues to be successful.’
“The Minnesota community did that in a great way. I think we can do it in Oakland. I think there’s a solution there, but it takes the community to help identify it.”
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