"Raider Nation," your team is gearing up to say goodbye.
The Oakland Raiders on Thursday officially submitted paperwork to relocate to Nevada, according to Steve Sisolak, the Clark County Commission Chairman.
The relocation effort still needs approval from 24 of the league's 32 owners. Those votes are expected to be cast at some point in late March during owners meetings.
Sisolak's relocation announcement was punctuated with enthusiasm. "It is official!" he tweeted. He followed up with an official statement, which read, "Today, we moved one step closer to having an NFL team to call our own. This is very exciting for Las Vegas."
The relocation move, on the other hand, surely feels like a gut punch for fans of the East Bay franchise. While Raiders officials and Nevada politicians ramped up moving talks, dedicated supporters flashed "Stay in Oakland" signs and "Las Vegas: If You Build It, We Won't Come" banners in hopes of keeping the "Silver and Black" cemented in Oakland.
Despite pressure from fans, Raiders owner Mark Davis has remained steadfast in his plans to pack up and head for "Sin City." Those efforts received a boost in October when Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval approved a bill to construct a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas.
Nevada plans to raise $750 million from a hotel tax to fund the stadium with billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson contributing $650 million and the Raiders and NFL kicking in $500 million.
The Oakland City Council in December countered that action by approving a financial and development plan to build a $1.3 billion stadium at the Coliseum site in hopes of preventing an exodus. A group of investors — highlighted by former San Francisco 49ers and Raiders safety Ronnie Lott — helped make that plan become a reality by pledging $400 million to the potential stadium's construction. Despite Thursday's official relocation announcement, the group will not throw in the towel just yetl.
"Oakland is a top-10 media market," a spokesperson representing the collective said. "It's got the land available. It's got a solid investment team. It's got two NFL stars behind the proposal. We think that beats Vegas every time. We are in this to win. We think when the final call of this game is made, Oakland is going to be the spot that the NFL chooses."
The Bay Area Council, a public policy organization that pushes for a robust economic enviroment, echoed a similar sentiment in its official statement.
"The Bay Area, millions of stalwart fans and the business community are not giving up on keeping the Raiders here where they belong," Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the group, penned. "We continue to believe that a deal can be reached to build a modern stadium complex that the Raiders deserve and that benefits Oakland. We urge the Raiders, the NFL and Oakland to work together to find an agreement that can benefit everyone and avoid the disruption and pain of a costly move. Relocating a franchise with the deep roots and storied history that the Raiders have here in the Bay Area would be a disaster for the community."