Press Conference on Raiders' Relocation

NFL Communications

Press Conference on Raiders' Relocation

2016 Regular English

Press Conference on Raiders’ Relocation 3.27.17


Roger Goodell: Our goal is to have 32 stable franchises for each of those teams and the league. We worked very hard and never want to see the relocation of a franchise. That means exhausting our options and doing everything we possibly can to get a solution in the existing market.


As you know, there’s been a stadium situation in Oakland that we felt needed to be addressed. I think even our friends in Oakland agree that it needed to be resolved for the long-term issue of the team, and frankly, the community. This has been an issue for well over a decade. We have a very rigorous and disciplined process. It’s a difficult process, as it should be.


Our stadium committee and finance committee, which represent 18 owners, worked tirelessly on this over the last nine months or so, just on this relocation proposal. We believe we and the Raiders have worked earnestly in Oakland for over a decade to try and find that viable option in Oakland. We needed to provide certainty and stability for the Raiders as well as the league. As you know the clubs also, I think it was 2015, put off the decision for a relocation in the hopes of trying to see if we could develop a solution in Oakland. The owners put in an additional $100 million – unprecedented - for a $300 million total, to try to find that solution in Oakland. So, I know the ownership feels they went the extra mile to try to find that solution in Oakland.


I want to thank the mayor. I just spoke to her briefly to tell her that I appreciated her efforts. I’m certain she’s disappointed as we all are. But I want to thank her for her efforts in trying to find a viable solution. I believe she worked tirelessly. She worked tirelessly with Ronnie Lott, Rodney Peete, and many others in the community to try to find a solution that we could all be proud of and all move forward in a way that was very positive for both the Raiders and the Oakland community. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that done and we’re all disappointed. We’re particularly disappointed for the fans of the Oakland Raiders in Oakland. This is something that I know will be seen with a great deal of disappointment by them, we understand that, and we worked as tirelessly and as hard as we could to try to find that solution and we just couldn’t get that done.


Bob McNair: Thank you Commissioner. We’ve worked for probably two years, not just the last nine months on trying to find a solution for the Raiders, and of course our first choice was to find an answer in Oakland. Unfortunately, we were not able to do that, and the plan that the Raiders now have to play in Nevada and Las Vegas is a very sound plan, and one that we’ve looked at very carefully, and it meets all of our standards and financial conditions. So, we’re delighted for the Raiders we think this will lead to a more stable franchise and that’s the goal of all of us in the league, is to have 32 clubs that are all strong. So, we wish the Raiders and Mark Davis well, we regret that Oakland fans are going to be disappointed and I wish we could do something about that, but we weren’t able to successfully find a viable plan there. So, congratulations Mark.


Art Rooney: I just want to add, as has been said, these are difficult decisions.  Anybody who has visited Oakland, and played a game there in the last several years understands the stadium situation there was difficult, at best, and so we needed a solution. We did wait a considerable amount of time to see if a plan could be developed to keep the team in Oakland. As the Commissioner said, we appreciate Mayor Schaaff’s efforts to try and put something on the table. My own personal opinion is that the presence of the baseball team on site was a complication that they really couldn’t find a way to work around. So, we’re here today with a situation where I think the future of the Raiders can be much more solid playing in a first-class stadium, so we are happy the Raiders are going to have a home for the long-term, and appreciate the efforts of Las Vegas and Nevada for helping make that happen.


Mark Davis: I’d like to thank Commissioner Goodell, the two committee chairmen, Mr. McNair and Mr. Rooney, and my other 31 partners in the National Football League for making this vote in our favor. I’d also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and congratulate him as well, and the legislature of Nevada, who overwhelmingly supported this process and are bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas. Finally, I’d like to thank Sheldon Adelson, whose vision and directions made it possible, and probably would have never happened without him.


My father used to say that the greatness of the Raiders is in its future, and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is one opportunity that will give us the ability to achieve that greatness.


I have mixed feelings, obviously. I love Oakland, I love the fans in Oakland, and I know that there’s going to be disappointment and maybe some anger. I just hope that in the future, as we play in Oakland this year, that they understand that it wasn’t the players, it wasn’t the coaches that made this decision, but it was me that made it, and if they have anybody to talk to about it, it should be me. I will, in the coming days, try to explain to them what went into making this difficult decision.


What’s the plan for the Raiders for the next couple of seasons, if not, three seasons? I assume they’re going to play in Oakland, and are there concerns the league has about that, a team that’s going to leave?


Goodell: They do have an option. As you know, they just signed, last year, two more years. Each individual year, they have an option. For ’19, they do not have a confirmed site. That is something they’re exploring. They mentioned that to the ownership today and it was part of their consideration.


Goodell: Yes, we do this is an important step for us. It’s an important step in trying to get stability for the Raiders long term. They obviously are going to need a few years to get the stadium built, but in the meantime, we intend to play in Oakland.


At what point did this turn? What could Oakland have done to make the outcome different?


Goodell: The points that we always put back to Oakland were that we need certainty and a viable plan that will work for the community and the team long term. It had to be actionable. We understand that the contingencies sometimes occur, but major contingencies that put the entire project into doubt are just unreasonable on a case like this. What we tried to do was work very hard over the last several years to address those issues and to come up with some type of plan that we could invest well over a billion dollars to get a stadium built there. If we have all the facts on the table and we can develop a plan, it can get done. It has gotten done. We’ve done it effectively. We’re doing it in Los Angeles effectively with private money. So, these are all efforts that we tried to get solutions to those.


Art Rooney mentioned that they have commitments to the A’s that is a complicating factor in this because you don’t have the certainty of when the A’s are going to be leaving the site, where they’re going to be able to build on the site, what the development is going to incur on the site and all those important decisions when you’re investing that kind of money.


With the Raiders playing in Oakland will they be known as the Oakland Raiders or are they the Las Vegas Raiders? How does that work?


Goodell: I believe they’re going to continue to be called the Oakland Raiders.


How long?


Goodell: As long as they’re in Oakland.


Mark, just to kind of piggy back on the idea of you having a rather long lame duck scenario with you and Oakland, what do you tell the fans there about continuing to support the team during that window and how concerned are you that the anger and the frustration of those fans will diminish the vibe that you’re creating with your franchise.


Davis: It’s tough. I wouldn’t use the term lame duck. We’re still the Oakland Raiders and we are the Raiders and we represent the Raider nation. As I said earlier there’s going to be some disappointed fans and angry fans. It’s going to be up to me to talk to them and let them know why, how and what has happened. Hopefully we can work things out and work together for the future.


What are your options for 2019 and maybe even 2018?


Davis: We have two more years of lease options for Oakland right now. If the fans would like us to stay there, we’d love to be there for that and possibly talk to them about extending it for maybe 2019 as well and try to bring a championship back to Oakland.


You talk about your father’s legacy and this decision today how does that make you feel?


Davis: Well, it’s a tough decision. I think he’d be proud that two young kids, myself and Mark who started out as water boys in this organization, are taking this organization now into the future in a world-class stadium and like I said the entertainment capital of the world. I think he’d be proud.


Some fans have put down their season ticket deposits this year; I’m wondering if given this decision, maybe there will be refunds if they request them. That’s number one. Number two, when did this turn for you, that you started to say Las Vegas is where I’m going to go?


Davis: If any of the fans that have given deposits for season tickets would like to refund them, we’d be happy to do that. Well not happy, but you know how that goes, but yes, absolutely.


I believe it turned during the L.A. part where, before the vote for Los Angeles, Oakland had an opportunity to come in and make a presentation to the league. They came in with a five-page piece of paper that had nothing to do with anything. They claimed that they would wait for us to lose the vote, then to come back and they would have all the leverage. We lost the vote, we came back to Oakland, we negotiated a one-year lease with two years of options and talked about getting together and talking about a long-term future together. A week later I got a call from one of the county board of supervisors telling me: ‘Mark, I’m sorry but the lease that we just negotiated, the three years of leases, are not going to be valid, and we’re going to raise the rent three times on you.’ At that point we ended up signing that lease anyway, but then decided we had to start looking elsewhere to see if we could find a long-term solution.


Even as you went through the ups and downs of trying to regain financing there, did you think the 750 would stand the test of time when it came to the owners when they made the decision on this that, with that kind of commitment from Nevada, that that could stand even as you had to get new financing?


Davis: The commitment made by the Governor of Nevada and the legislature of Nevada was pretty strong to me. My commitment to them was just as strong, so no we never had a problem with that. ​