The Raiders and their interest in relocating to Las Vegas could be advancing past the rumor stage.
Both Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report reported Monday that Raiders owner Mark Davis will pledge to move the team to a 65,000-seat domed stadium along Tropicana Avenue if he likes what he hears at a Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure meeting Thursday on the campus of UNLV.
Reached by the Bay Area News Group, Davis declined to comment regarding the stadium issue and said he planned to be at the club facility when the NFL draft begins Thursday night.
According to the reports, Davis would announce his intention to move to Las Vegas if the $1.3 billion project is built.
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The stadium, which would also serve as home for the UNLV football team, would be backed by casino operator Las Vegas Sands and Majestic Realty, the Las Vegas (Nev.) Review-Journal reported.
The tourism infrastructure committee can only make recommendations and can’t approve the project, with any use of tax dollars having to get through the Nevada legislature.
That legislature is not scheduled to convene until February 2017 unless there is a special session.
In order to move the franchise, the Raiders would need the approval of three quarters of the NFL owners (24 of 32), and the proximity to legalized sports gambling makes some old-guard owners uncomfortable.
Although the Raiders have had brisk season ticket sales following a 7-9 season and a strong offseason in terms of securing talent, Davis has not come any closer with the city of Oakland and Alameda County in securing a new stadium on the current site.
ESPN reported the Raiders have nearly maxed out their season ticket sales in the 50,000 range for the 53,200-seat facility. Davis acknowledged Monday that there may be a waiting list for the first time.
“It’s just fantastic,” Davis said.
Although more season tickets have been sold, Davis said there are no plans to remove the tarp covering the east side structure, which was built to accommodate the Raiders when they returned from Los Angeles in 1995.
A one-year lease extension with two one-year options will keep the Raiders in Oakland for at least the 2016 season.
Under terms of the new lease, the Raiders will pay $3.5 million in 2016 after paying $925,000 last year.
The Raiders lost out on a bid to build a new stadium as a co-tenant with the San Diego Chargers in Carson, with the NFL opting for a proposal by the Los Angeles Rams.
San Diego is first in line to join the Rams as a co-tenant should the Chargers fail in their bid to get a new stadium in their hometown.
If San Diego does get a new stadium, the Raiders would have the option to move to Los Angeles.