From the start, it seemed like a partnership destined to bring the National Football League to Las Vegas.

The Oakland Raiders, one of the iconic franchises in professional sports. The family of casino executive Sheldon Adelson. The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. Everyone involved with the plan described it as an alignment of the stars that seemed too good to be true.

The Raiders couldn’t secure a new stadium in Oakland. The Adelson family saw an opportunity to invite the NFL to Southern Nevada. A special committee appointed by the governor already was examining infrastructure projects to grow Las Vegas’ tourism economy as well as provide a new home for UNLV football. In 2016, everything was lined up to build a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium near the Strip.

Today, the Adelson family is out of the deal. The stadium’s financing plan suddenly has a $650 million hole and no announced partner to fill it. And the Raiders are six weeks away from a meeting where NFL owners could decide whether the team can move to Las Vegas.


What happened?

That’s a question that even representatives of the Adelson family are still asking.

‘STUNNING’

“It was stunning,” said Andy Abboud, vice president of government relations and community affairs for casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. and a spokesman for the family. “It’s still stunning.”

Abboud’s interview with the Review-Journal provided the first comments from either party about stadium development negotiations between the Raiders and the Adelson family. Talks began in October, when Nevada lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval approved an increase in Clark County’s hotel room tax to fund $750 million of the stadium’s construction costs.