Mark Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, held a press conference at the autumn owners meeting in Houston, Texas, on October 19. During the conference, Goodell was asked a number of questions about football in Las Vegas and the Oakland Raiders’ potential move from California to the Nevada city. You can read below a selection of the questions he was asked relating to the potential expansion, and his answers.
What are your thoughts on [Raiders owner] Mark Davis and Las Vegas, and given that NFL staff have worked with Oakland for a year, [what’s] your view concerning the team’s prospective move from California to Nevada?
We had presentations from all three of the California teams this morning on the status of their efforts to get stadia built. We also heard from the Atlanta Falcons on their efforts to get their stadium completed for next season. So that was a normal part of our meeting. As the question specifically relates to the Oakland Raiders presentation – it was informative and factual.
The membership had an opportunity to ask questions and the chairman of the committee, Art Rooney, made it very clear that this is something that is a significant focus of the stadium committee, has been and will be going forward.
There’s still a great deal of information we need to gather with respect to the circumstances that we see in Las Vegas, the opportunities and also the challenges. So those are the things that we’ll look at through the committee and report back to them maybe as early as December, but more likely later than that.
Gaming has been a topic when Las Vegas comes up. Do you sense a shift in society’s attitude toward gambling, in part because it can now be done on a smartphone and doesn’t need to be located in one place?
That’s one of those very broad questions. From my perspective, there clearly are shifts in society and the way people view gambling and the way you view even lotteries. There have been shifts in that and we obviously monitor that.
But we still remain very much opposed to legalized gambling on sports, and we think that has an impact on the integrity of our game and that’s what we watch. Whether people gamble or not is not necessarily our particular focus – what we want to do is make sure we’re doing what’s right for the game, and for the NFL, and that’s where our focus will remain.
On conducting market research in Oakland and Las Vegas, Goodell said:
Those are things we’re going to have to evaluate. We’re going to look at the market and we’re going to look at what we see as the opportunities. We’re going to look at Oakland and we’re going to look at every aspect of this to make sure we’re making the right decision long-term for the NFL.
What would make the NFL attractive to Las Vegas and vice versa?
We study everything that we think is important to the long-term support of an NFL franchise. Is there a significant fan base there that would support the team appropriately? Are the stadium economics and the fan experience at the level that we need to be successful there? What would the impact be on some of our policies?
So, we evaluate it from start to finish, and some of that is market research, some of that is pure analysis, and part of that is just getting in and asking the questions. We have a team of people who have been evaluating some of these issues. There are still things that haven’t been resolved that we still need to evaluate. It’s expansive in the sense of making sure that we consider every aspect when the ownership makes their vote.
What would make Las Vegas an attractive city for the NFL?
I’m not going to speculate on that. Las Vegas is a city that is known for its entertainment, it’s a big city, and we’ll have to evaluate that.
October 20, 2016