The Raiders' biggest obstacle in their attempted move to Las Vegas is no longer the support of NFL owners. While the issue of generating enough taxpayer money (about $750 million) still looms large, the Raiders are in pretty good shape when it comes to backing from the billionaires.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was the first NFL owner to publicly back Mark Davis' interest in Vegas. He was followed shortly by Robert Kraft of the Patriots, another powerful owner who gave Davis support.
Add five more owners to the list, with a large group of the men in charge individually telling Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com they think – in one form or another – it's a viable solution for the Raiders.
For Jeffery Lurie of the Eagles, gambling (the biggest problem) is the issue of the market being big enough:
"I'd be open to it. My only question is, is it a really good NFL market? I'm not totally worried about a lot of other things. I am more worried, is it a great market for the NFL? I don't know enough about that. I never thought about it much before. It has to support 70,000 every weekend."
49ers owner Jed York, who would probably love the other Bay Area team getting out of town, supported the change of mind about Vegas.
"I think the stigma about Las Vegas is much different today than where it was in the past."
Woody Johnson of the Jets is excited about the taxes! (And also added gambling isn't "a dominant issue" like it was a decade ago.)
"Las Vegas is a very exciting market. Nevada is a very good place from a tax standpoint, very low taxes and no income tax."
Texans owner Bob McNair took a pragmatic approach to the issue of gambling.
"I would look favorably at it. I would like to hear all the arguments, make sure we are not overlooking something. But you have gambling all around you now, lotteries on every street corner. I don't think it is the issue we viewed it to be 20 years ago."
Another very powerful owner, John Mara of the Giants, was the most hesitant of the group polled, but said he would be willing to remain "open-minded" as long as the team would address all the "concerns."
"I'm open-minded. I would want to hear a presentation about it and the pros and cons, and obviously there are some concerns, but I am not going to rule it out. The gambling, is the market deep enough to support an NFL team, what kind of stadium would be there, what kind of support are they going to get from the community? Those would be the concerns."
The Raiders need more than just seven total owners supporting the move to Las Vegas, but these things aren't like winning over a single delegate at a time. There's a cascading effect here where, if Davis can convince a small group of powerful owners, he can get the rest to buy in.
The issues of raising money and convincing everyone a Vegas fan base can support an NFL team still remain. But it's very obvious a large group of NFL owners are becoming increasingly interested in the idea of the Raiders making the leap to Vegas and testing out a potentially powerful and glamorous market.
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