NFL owners approved the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas on Monday by a vote of 31-1, with the only dissenting vote coming from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who released a statement on why he voted “nay” afterwards:
“My position today was that we as owners and as a League owe it to fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted,” Ross said in the statement, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “I want to wish Mark Davis the Raiders organization the best in Las Vegas.”
That means of course that Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen fell in line with 30 other owners in approving the relocation, the third in the last 18 months after the Rams and Chargers moved to Los Angeles. Allen and the 31 other owners will be receiving $53 million each because of the relocation fees paid out by those three franchises.
Of course, Allen once saved the Seahawks from relocation from Seattle to California back in 1996 when he bought the team from Ken Behring. The moves led to the building of “Qwest Field” which is now known CenturyLink (and was just called Seahawks Stadium for the first year, I believe). The threat to move seemed quite real, and may have been, though it’s also speculated that it was just a ploy for a better stadium deal. Ultimately it led to Allen owning the team, though relocation has become all-too-common recently. I would not expect this to be the last threat of a move by a franchise, especially with the desire to expand the NFL to other countries.
The Raiders are expected to stay in Oakland for at least the next two seasons, and could even still awkwardly be there in 2019 before officially opening play in Vegas.