Raiders lose Vegas­ backer Sheldon Adelson

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has backed out of his family’s role in a $1.9 billion plan to relocate the Oakland Raiders to a sparkling new stadium in Las Vegas, casting long odds on the franchise’s stated intent to move the team.

Citing a “shocking” lease agreement floated by the Raiders to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, removed himself and his sizeable bankroll from “any facet” of the Las Vegas stadium discussion:

“The Oakland Raiders came before the Las Vegas Stadium Authority last week with a proposed lease agreement that has sent shockwaves through our community. … We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement; we weren’t even aware of its existence.”

Adelson’s withdrawal could represent a fatal blow to the Raiders’ desert relocation. The franchise filed papers with the National Football League earlier this month expressing their intent to move, and the plan was expected to be on the agenda for league meetings in March.

Instead, Adelson’s withdrawal leaves the Raiders franchise floating the open seas of NFL relocation, with only Oakland’s port standing at the ready to retain the team. Los Angeles seems off the table after the San Diego Chargers formally expressed their intent to relocate, and San Antonio appears to have swiped left on any flirtation with the team.

In a statement Monday night, the Raiders doubled down on the Vegas deal:

“The Raiders remain steadfast in honoring Mark Davis’ commitment to Governor Sandoval and the State of Nevada to pursue relocation to Las Vegas.”