How the NFL learned in Las Vegas, the host of the draft

How the NFL learned in Las Vegas, the host of the draft

Watch our live coverage of the first tour 2022 NFL Draft.

Las Vegas – Barely half a decade ago, this toy mecca was still largely achieved for the NFL

In 2015, Dallas Cowboys peddler Tony Romo called the league greedy and jealous when he was banned from attending a fantastic football event here because it was held at a conference center attached to the casino. Only in 2020 did the league allow the City Tourism Bureau to run an ad during the Super Bowl. League staff are still not allowed to gamble during business trips.

But within a few years the NFL’s long-standing resistance to doing business in Las Vegas and with it collapsed. The owners of the team have been assured that many of the city’s casinos do not pose a threat to the integrity of professional football. They also won with generous state subsidies to help pay for the Riders’ new stadium when the league approved the team move here in 2017.

A new attitude towards Sin City will be highlighted on Thursday when Commissar Roger Goodell announces that the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock, which marks the start of the league’s actual performance in Las Vegas. In quick succession, the city won the football franchise, hosted this year’s Pro Bowl, and will host the Super Bowl in February 2024.

“Those of us who are old enough to laugh at NFL memories are not even allowed to advertise Las Vegas during the Super Bowl,” said Michael Green, who teaches history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The coming of the bill “reflects a country that for the most part understands the idea that gambling is the ultimate scapegoat and that everyone here is called three-fingered Lenny and lights the choice of ice.”

League resistance broke out in the city in late 2014, around the time Riders’s talks with Auckland officials in California over a new stadium stalled. Mark Davis, the team owner, got a fun pitch from Napoleon McCallum, a former raider who at the time worked for the Las Vegas Sands, which owns hotels, casinos and halls. He called Davis to discuss Las Vegas.

Davis was not in a foreign city. His father, Al, visited frequently when he owned the team, and Davis Jr. bought the domain name LasVegasRaiders.com in the late 1990s. But Mark Davis knew he needed more to persuade other team owners to move around there. So in February 2015, McCallum arranged for Davis to meet with Bo Bernhard, CEO of the UNLV International Gaming Institute, and several other executives.

At a meeting held at the UNLV campus, Bernhard explained to Davis that there was no fear of the league in Las Vegas because gambling was so strictly regulated. Davis asked him to write a report to help him do this for his NFL peers. A few months later, Bernhard and other experts put together a 112-page report that dealt with what they thought was the league’s biggest concern, starting with the potential threat of gambling, whether the city was big enough to support a team.

“They wanted some knowledge of what guarantees and procedures, policies and methodologies are in place to create comfort for us that can be effectively regulated with the team here,” said Mark Liparell, former chairman of the Nevada Games Control Board. Bernard on the report. “Our position was, you should not be afraid of ours, you should be afraid of other guys,” a reference to unregulated gambling.

Bernhard said he did not know how many owners obeyed the report, but “it was a moment of deep and enduring sincerity to start a conversation that did not happen at the time.”

At the time, Davis was in talks with Sheldon Adelson, the founder of Las Vegas Sands, to build a new stadium. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was also looking for a way to help the riders build a stadium if they moved to Las Vegas. He asked Steve Hill, who heads the South Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, to find a way to use the proposed increase in hotel bed tax to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as to provide a $ 750 million subsidy. NFL Stadium.

Davis’ negotiations with Adelson broke down, but after much hearing and criticism that the bed tax could be used for more pressing needs, the state legislature in November 2016 approved the bed tax and funding for the conference center and stadium.

Davis was in Las Vegas at the time, al-In, persuaded to cover a large portion of the stadium construction costs and other team owners’ concerns about gambling melting.

Earlier that year, league owners voted for E.C. Stanley Croenke moved the Aries from St. Louis to Los Angeles and canceled Davis’ plan to build a stadium in Carson, California, with Dean Spanos, owner of San Diego. Chargers. As a consolation, Spanos was given the opportunity to reunite with Kroenke, which he used.

This left Davis with basically two options: continue to fight the city of Auckland, which did not want to pay for the construction of a new stadium, or get to Las Vegas, where it was offered a huge subsidy. He chose the latter and the owners came to his senses.

At the end of 2016, Goodell and several well-known owners of the team, including Jerry Jones from the Cowboys and Robert K. Craft from the New England Patriots, flew to Las Vegas to meet with local officials for lunch at Wynn. Steve Sisolak, who as chairman of the Clark County Commissioners supported the attempt to deceive the Riders, noticed that day that the owners were more concerned with the ability to host a team in the region than with gambling.

“I do not think we should have sold them,” said Sisolak, now governor of Nevada. “They really wanted to go here.”

Voting in March 2017 for Riders to move to Las Vegas was anti-climatic: only one owner – Stephen M. Ross Miami Dolphins – voted against the proposal.

Riders and Las Vegas quickly got to work, looking for ways to maximize their new stadium. Hill asked the largest resorts for ideas on how to arrange the outline. In April 2018, Hill also traveled with Mark Baden, then-President of the Riders, to Arlington, Texas, to see how the draft was created that year at AT&T Stadium.

The 2020 draft was handed over to Las Vegas, but a pandemic forced the league to postpone it for two years. Eventually, the officials decided to make the most of the strip, with a red carpet event in front of the Bellagio and a main event at the Caesars Forum, the convention center, next to the High Roller, next to a huge Ferris wheel.

While a series of high-profile NFL player competitions in Las Vegas have benefited from the law, the league has said there is no reason for the city to be particularly troubling to its athletes. The Saints who run behind Alvin Camara, Kansas City Corner Chris Lamons and two other men face criminal charges for arguing in a nightclub at Pro Bowl the night before.

The Raiders released receiver Henry Raggs III in November 2021, facing two counts of aggravated driving and two counts of reckless driving after his car crashed into the car of 23-year-old Tina Tintor.

“Politics is politics, and what we ask our staff to do is as important in Detroit as it is in Las Vegas,” said Katie Lanier, NFL’s chief security officer, referring to the league’s personal conduct policy. “We make a great effort to make sure everyone has all the tools they need to make a good decision, no matter where they are.”

Whatever the safety issues, the strip’s attractiveness, with its blinking hotels and good time, will exceed the size of a growing event and allow the NFL to fully embrace a city it once rejected.

“We look at places of worship wherever we go,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Las Vegas event manager. The market as well. “

Emmanuel Morgan Contributed to the report.

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