GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Oakland Raiders may have a financing plan in place for a $1.9 billion stadium to be built in Las Vegas, but the head of one of the NFL's other 31 teams isn’t sure a move to the desert is sustainable long-term.
Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy, a member of the NFL’s management council executive committee since 2008 and part of the league’s competition committee since 2012, suggested Monday that -- despite the Nevada state legislature’s October approval of a tax plan to raise $750 million toward the project -- the Raiders moving out of the Bay Area and to Las Vegas may not be in the league’s best interest.
“I think what’s gotten a lot of people’s attention is the $750 million in public funding in Las Vegas. But, I would say, there’s some real questions,” Murphy said in an interview on ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde & Tausch.”
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, the gambling ...’ I don’t think that’s as big of an issue because with online [gaming], it doesn’t really matter where you are. But I think there’s some real concerns about whether or not Las Vegas, long term, can support an NFL team.”
Murphy, whose franchise is in the NFL’s smallest market, pointed out that a move to Vegas would put the Raiders in the NFL’s fourth-smallest market. Murphy also argued that the San Francisco 49ers' move south to Santa Clara, Calif., in 2014 changed the dynamic of the NFL in Northern California.
“You’d be giving up on a growing market,” Murphy said of the Raiders leaving. “Especially, when you think of the Bay Area, the 49ers really vacated it. They’re in -- and I’m not an expert in the geography there -- but Santa Clara’s pretty far away from San Francisco. So there’s a real opportunity there for the Raiders.”
“I’m anxious to see. There’s been a couple of efforts to get new stadiums in Oakland -- I think there’s a proposal on the table now -- and we’ll see how legitimate that is.”
Murphy also shared his thoughts on the possibility of the San Diego Chargers moving north to Los Angeles after voters rejected a plan for a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center. The NFL has set a Jan. 15 deadline for the Chargers to determine whether they will relocate to Los Angeles.
“They’re in a tough situation,” Murphy said. “I don’t think they want to be a second team in L.A. It wouldn’t be like it is in New York ... This would be like the little brother coming in second-fiddle. I think they’re going to keep trying. San Diego’s a great market. It’s growing.
“The stadium is awful. I mean, it’s a 1960s baseball stadium. So they really need to do something there. But it doesn’t look real encouraging for them to get a new stadium.”
Jason Wilde covers the Green Bay Packers for ESPN Wisconsin.