The Las Vegas Raiders. It's time for those words to become second nature because Mark Davis is bringing his NFL team to the Las Vegas Valley in two years.
You'll be hard pressed to find a Las Vegas resident that hasn't heard the Raiders are coming to town, but what many fans don't know is how close the Raiders came to locking up a deal to stay in Oakland and why those negotiations fell through.
"It came down to a meeting with the National Football League and the city of Oakland, and we were in the meeting," said Davis. "The city of Oakland didn't bring a proposal to the meeting, they brought a 5-page letter that just basically spelled out the nice things about Oakland but didn't make us a proposal. At that time we decided that we would file for relocation officially."
In an attempt to possibly gain empathy, Mark Davis tried his best to make listeners understand that he wasn't looking for the city to pay the entire bill for a new stadium.
"The Raiders continually said that we had $500 million dollars to put into a stadium in Oakland and that we needed help. We never got that help."
"The only people Oakland was in competition with was themselves," Davis said. "If they could have come up with a deal that would have given us the land, either leased it or gave it to us on reasonable terms, and gave us the infrastructure, and we had the ability to find a developer to fill that funding gap, we may have been able to do something on that site. Because I do believe it is a phenomenal site."
Mark Davis even says he was willing to split the land with the Oakland A's and possibly continue to share the new stadium.
"We tried to get someone to help us build one with the A's or build it on our own. But we don't want to build in the corner of the parking lot. We were never going to do that. We wanted to do something that's great and is a world-class stadium."
The breaking point between Mark Davis' Raiders and the city of Oakland came when it was time to renegotiate the lease for the current stadium. Davis felt disrespected by the spike in rent and took it as a direct slap in the face for entertaining relocation. That proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the city of Oakland.
"In the past, I had spoken with Napolean McCollum in Nevada. At that point in time [After Oakland raised the Raiders' rent], I said, 'Napolean lets see if we can get this ball rolling and see what happens.' It was time for me to move on and see if I could find somebody else that wanted to make a deal with the Raiders, and that's what happened."
Oakland's loss is Las Vegas' gain. Residents may not approve of the city providing over $700 million to finance the stadium but the fact remains, tourist will foot the brunt of that payment through raised hotel room taxes. That's a luxury very few other cities have and Las Vegas took full advantage of it in their pitch to the Raiders.
For better or worse, the Raiders and Las Vegas are taking a trip through the metaphorical Little White Chapel of NFL ownership and in the end, everyone hopes it's a long-lasting marriage; not an abrupt annulment.