Celebrities, former players, NFL officials and Nevada politicians attended a ceremony to mark groundbreaking on the Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium.
The event kicked off the construction of the 65,000-seat domed stadium that will serve as the team’s new home.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval joined Raiders owner Mark Davis and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as they took part in shoveling the first scoops of dirt that will make way for a $1.9 billion stadium that is scheduled to open in 2020. Goodell said:
It will be seen around the world as a reflection of the spirit of Las Vegas: a resilient city on the rise. This is a very significant day in the franchise’s storied history and a tangible symbol of the team’s future in Las Vegas.
The ceremony, which started after sunset, began with a tribute to the victims of the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas. The team and local civic leaders recognised Las Vegas law enforcement and first responders to the shooting, with everyone in attendance giving them a standing ovation.
NFL owners approved the Raiders’ relocation in March, with 31 of the 32 owners voting in favour of the move.
Nevada lawmakers approved $750 million in public funding for the stadium. The Raiders plan to play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2017 and 2018.
Davis has expressed openness to staying in Oakland in 2019, although Goodell said the league would look into potential venues for 2019.