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Goldman Sachs pulls out of Las Vegas NFL stadium deal

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer
Raiders owner Mark Davis in April 2016. (AP)

On Monday night, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson withdrew from the ongoing effort to finance a new $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas for the Oakland Raiders.

Now, Yahoo Finance has learned, Goldman Sachs is out as well.

Only one week ago, prospects for the Raiders to move to Las Vegas looked positive. Adelson had committed $650 million in personal wealth to the building of a glitzy new stadium in Vegas for the Raiders to play in;  the Raiders had committed $500 million; officials in Clark County, Nev., had approved $750 million in public funding, to be raised by increasing the hotel room tax; the team had filed its relocation papers to the NFL.

Then on Monday night, the Adelson family released a statement expressing outrage over the Raiders submitting a lease proposal that excluded them.

“It was certainly shocking to the Adelson family,” the statement said. “We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement; we weren’t even aware of its existence… It’s clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family… Regrettably, we will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”

The Raiders put out a statement in response: “The Raiders deeply appreciate the efforts of the Adelson family to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas… We know this project could not have advanced to this point without them. The Raiders remain steadfast in honoring Mark Davis’ commitment to Governor Sandoval and the State of Nevada to pursue relocation to Las Vegas.”

Even without Adelson, the Raiders’ relocation effort should have been on track, based on a Las Vegas Review-Journal report earlier this month that said Goldman Sachs “is committed to financing the team’s proposed domed stadium in Las Vegas with or without an investment from casino executive Sheldon Adelson.”

According to the Review-Journal, representatives from Applied Analysis, the outside research firm hired by the Raiders, told the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board that Raiders execs told the NFL that Goldman was on board with or without Adelson.

Either that Review-Journal report was wrong, or the Raiders were wrong, or misled the NFL. A source close to the situation now tells Yahoo Finance that because Adelson is out, Goldman Sachs is also out.

Goldman Sachs indeed had a “commitment to finance a stadium with the Raiders and Sheldon Adelson in partnership,” says the source. Without Adelson, the partnership is over. There was not a commitment by Goldman to finance the stadium without Adelson.

Goldman Sachs, Sheldon Adelson, and the NFL declined to comment for this story.

Where does all of this leave the Raiders? It’s unclear. With Adelson out, questions about whether the NFL would allow a casino executive to become a part-owner of an NFL team are moot; but with Goldman out, financing may also be gone.

The team needs to find that $650 million somewhere else in order to get its Las Vegas stadium built. Might a new financier come along?

[UPDATE, Mar. 13, 2017: Reports indicate that Bank of America has replaced Goldman Sachs as the financial backer for a new Raiders stadium.]

Daniel Roberts is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering sports business and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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