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Owners vote 31-1 to OK Raiders move; Dolphins vote against

PHOENIX -- The Oakland Raiders will move to Las Vegas after garnering enough votes from NFL owners on Monday to relocate to Southern Nevada.

The Raiders received 31 of 32 votes to approve the move. Only 24 votes were needed.

"I have mixed feelings; it's very bittersweet," Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN.com after the announcement was made Monday. "I understand [Oakland fans] will be angry and disappointed. I want them to know that I do understand that it's emotional. Raider Nation is the greatest fan base in the world and we're going to build something to make them proud.

"But I also want them to give as much support to the team as possible as we attempt to bring a championship to the Bay Area."

The Miami Dolphins were the only team to vote against the move.

"My position today was that we as owners and as a league owe it to the fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted. I want to wish Mark Davis and the Raiders organization the best in Las Vegas," Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement.

The Raiders will still play in Oakland in 2017, and possibly longer.

"The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff."

Raiders owner Mark Davis

With the Raiders' proposed 65,000-seat domed stadium -- which will be shared with UNLV -- not expected to open until 2020, Davis told ESPN he plans on staying in Oakland the next two seasons. The team holds a pair of one-year options at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

"My father always said, 'the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,' and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness," Davis said in a statement. "I would like to thank Commissioner [Roger] Goodell, the National Football League and my 31 partners. I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature for their commitment. Finally, I would like to thank Sheldon Adelson for his vision and leadership, without which this project never would have become a reality."

Davis continued: "The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area."

The Raiders would presumably then have to find a place to play in 2019. Davis has all but ruled out using UNLV's current home -- the 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium, about nine miles southeast of the university's campus -- due to outdated locker rooms and the lack of a proper security border around the facility. The Raiders could conceivably play one preseason game a year at Sam Boyd Stadium before moving to Las Vegas permanently.

Davis said he was open to extending the team's lease and playing the 2019 season in Oakland as well.

"If they want us, we'd seriously consider it," Davis told ESPN.

"I want to come into Las Vegas clean."

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr tweeted that the news leaves him with mixed emotions.

Coach Jack Del Rio echoed this sentiment.

"My emotions are mixed. While I'm sad for family, friends and fans in the Oak area, I also recognize the tremendous opportunity going forward for our organization," he told ESPN's Ed Werder in a text message. "That being said, my mission remains the same. To lead this team here and now. Players and coaches need to understand their defined roles. We all need to bring positive energy every day as we focus on things that we control."

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf made a last-ditch effort to retain the Raiders on Monday, after being told by Goodell in a letter on Friday that the city's proposal was not a "viable solution." In another letter delivered to owners Monday morning, she asked them to delay the vote in order to give Oakland a chance to negotiate with a small group of owners to complete a stadium deal at the Coliseum site. She also requested a secret ballot on the vote.

"I am disappointed that the Raiders and the NFL chose Las Vegas over Oakland when we had a fully-financed, shovel-ready stadium project that would have kept the Raiders in Oakland where they were born and raised," Schaaf said in a statement following the NFL owners' vote.

"I am proud that we stood firm in refusing to use public money to subsidize stadium construction and that we did not capitulate to their unreasonable and unnecessary demand that we choose between our football and baseball franchises.

"As a lifelong Oaklander, my heart aches today for the Raider Nation. These are the most committed and passionate fans any city or team could hope to have. They deserved better."

The Raiders are the only NFL team to share a stadium with a Major League Baseball franchise (the Athletics).

"We understand the Raiders' need for a new stadium. Oakland is an incredible sports town and we would be sorry to see them leave," the A's said in a statement. "We commend the city's and county's efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The Mayor and her team have worked incredibly hard to save the franchise. We are focused on, and excited about, our efforts to build a new ballpark in Oakland and look forward to announcing a location this year."

Davis had turned his focus to Las Vegas in April 2016, telling ESPN at the time he had tried for eight years to get a deal done in Oakland.

"Individually, they're great people," Davis said of Oakland city, Alameda County and Joint Powers Authority legislators. "But you get two or more of them in a room, total dysfunction."

The Raiders have committed $500 million toward the projected $1.9 billion stadium project, with another $750 million coming in the form of public funding, including a hotel tax passed by the Nevada Legislature in October. The team has informed the NFL that Bank of America is also helping to finance the deal with a $650 million loan after casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew his $650 million pledge in late January, essentially saying the Raiders dealt with him in bad faith. It will be the third time in franchise history the Raiders will move. In 1982 the team relocated to Los Angeles before returning to Oakland in 1995.

The Raiders received congratulations from the NHL's Golden Knights, the expansion franchise that begins play in Las Vegas starting in 2017-18.

"On behalf of the entire Vegas Golden Knights family, I would like to welcome and congratulate Mark Davis and the Oakland Raiders on their relocation to the great city of Las Vegas," Golden Knights chairman and CEO Bill Foley said in a statement. "It truly is an exciting time to be from Las Vegas. There is only a select group of cities in North America that are home to both an NHL and an NFL franchise and Vegas is now one of them. This alone should be a great source of pride for our community and our fans. Las Vegas has always been one of the most popular destination cities in the world and it is now emerging as a premier location for major league professional sports."

The Raiders become the third team in the past two years to be granted approval to relocate. Previously, both the Rams and Chargers were allowed to relocate to Los Angeles from St. Louis and San Diego, respectively.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he empathized with Bay Area Raiders fans.

"I don't ever like to see our teams move, but I was thinking back to trying to have our own stadium and what we went through and all the machinations," Kraft said. "The Raiders have been, since I've come in [1994], at the bottom of the league in terms of revenue, which I think has been difficult for them to do everything they've wanted to do for their football operations. I think they've worked very hard to try to make things work up there, and it hasn't worked out. I think now they have an opportunity to be a very solid, vibrant team.

"You can't compete at the highest level if you don't have a first-rate stadium. I think that's what this is really all about."

Kraft also spoke about Las Vegas as an NFL market, saying the first game his Patriots ever sold out was against the Raiders.

"They have a unique fan base that I think is very loyal to them and will travel with them," Kraft said. "I think Las Vegas as a destination for visiting teams will be very strong. I think every visiting-team market; that's something they'll have to work with to try to sell out as best they can so they can control the home-team crowd. But I think it will be a wonderful venue and a wonderful market. It's unique, one of the only small markets that I can think of that could be in that category."

NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman acknowledged the league did studies on Las Vegas, which, at No. 40, would be the league's fifth-smallest market, but ahead of Jacksonville (No. 47), New Orleans (No. 51), Buffalo (No. 53) and Green Bay (No. 68).

"The existing size of Las Vegas, the diversification and the growth that it has undergone over the last 20 years, combine to make it a midsized market today but one that is exhibiting significantly above-average growth," Grubman said. " Those things in combination -- its current size with its above-average growth -- combined to give the rest of the ownership confidence."

NFL Nation reporters Mike Reiss and Nick Wagoner contributed to this report.