National Football League (NFL) owners have voted 31-1 at the annual league meeting, approving the Raiders’ proposal to build a $1.8bn stadium in Las Vegas.
The decision comes after years of fruitless efforts by Raiders owner Mark Davis to build a stadium in Oakland, California. The failure led to exploring stadium options in Los Angeles and eventually Las Vegas, where Nevada lawmakers approved $750m in public funding for a new stadium.
The Raiders team is expected to move into the domed stadium in Las Vegas by 2020.
In a statement, Davis said that the Raiders plan to play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2017 and 2018.
Even though Davis expressed his willingness to stay in Oakland in 2019, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league would look into potential venues for 2019.
Meanwhile, the Raiders will remain the Oakland Raiders.
Referring to his late father Al Davis’ stewardship of the team, Davis said: “My father always said, ‘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 a significant step toward achieving that greatness.”
During the last 14 month, three teams announced plans for relocation. The Rams moved from St Louis back to Los Angeles in 2017 and the Chargers announced their decision to move from San Diego to LA in January.
Goodell said on MMQB Peter King’s podcast that leaving Oakland would be “painful”.
Oakland and Alameda County officials had made an 11th-hour effort to persuade NFL owners that they had a feasible stadium plan for the Raiders.
In a letter to the league, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf outlined a proposal for a $1.3bn stadium plan in Oakland, which would include public financing.
Raiders’ fans and the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board also appealed to the NFL, citing the tradition of the Raiders and growing Oakland market.
Responding to Schaaf’s letter, Goodell replied that the plan “does not present a proposal that is clear and specific, actionable in a reasonable time frame, and free of major contingencies.”
He said: “All of these efforts, ours and yours, have not yet identified a viable solution toward keeping the Raiders in Oakland.”
After no stadium solutions could be negotiated in Oakland, Las Vegas emerged as the Raiders’ potential destination after Nevada lawmakers approved $750m in public funding for a new stadium.
The Raiders and the NFL will provide $500m toward stadium construction and Bank of America will contribute additional funding.