Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has said that NFL American football teams should be responsible for funding their own stadium projects.
Speaking after NFL team-owners yesterday (Monday) voted 31-1 in favour of the Oakland Raiders franchise relocating to Las Vegas, Ross said teams “should have the deep pockets to deliver” their own stadia.
Ross was the only team-owner who voted against the Raiders’ relocation. Raiders owner Mark Davis intends on building a state-of-the-art, $1.9bn (£1.5bn/€1.8bn) stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. While the team itself will provide $500m towards the 65,000-seat facility, $750m will be raised through hotel-tax increases, with Bank of America to reportedly provide the remaining $650m.
Ross is not a fan of the public-funding model. “You’ve got to look around,” he said, according to the ESPN website. “There’s very little public money available for teams today. And if you own a team, you should have the deep pockets to deliver. You need some public money for infrastructure and things like that. But with the costs of stadiums today, our country can’t afford to put all of the money in those things.”
Ross also said that Davis and the Raiders did not do everything in their power to keep the team in Oakland. The city had submitted a $1.3bn stadium proposal of its own, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell dismissed the plans, stating that they were not achievable within a reasonable timeframe.
“I believe when you own a team you’re a steward for the city,” Ross added. “It’s like owning a utility company. And I just don’t think everything was done to try and stay in Oakland.
“You can only make a deal when the owner wants to make a deal. Who are you going to negotiate with? How is it going to happen? There’s got to be a driving force.”
Ross’s Dolphins play at Hard Rock Stadium, which recently underwent major renovation work that reduced its capacity from 75,000 to 65,000. The stadium will stage the NFL’s Super Bowl showpiece in 2020.