The Oakland Raiders are moving out of Oakland, again.
What once seemed like pretend is now very real – the Oakland Raiders are out of Oakland and into Las Vegas, but will wait until 2019 to step foot in their new home as a proper stadium is built in their new city.
NFL relocations have become a bit of a tradition in recent years. This marks the third team to relocate in two years, including the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers (now both residing in Los Angeles).
If you ask me about the two aforementioned teams and their relocation, I chalk it up to greed at the very top. The city of St. Louis wouldn’t pay for a new stadium, so the Kroenke’s found a new place that would shell out the cash so they didn’t have to. The city of San Diego offered numerous proposals for a new stadium, but greedy ownership saw an opportunity to save money and fled for Los Angeles.
The case for Oakland; however, is far from greedy ownership.
Since returning to Oakland, the Raiders have shared a stadium with MLB’s Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum. This means that at every Raiders’ home game, you can see the dirt from the base paths. It opened in 1966! The field is simply not up to standards of modern NFL stadiums. It became clear that a change was needed for the Raiders, so they began exploring options a few years back.
In the new era of professional sports, cities that host sports teams end up paying for the stadium renovations/construction instead of the team ownership. Owners pocket A LOT of profit from home games without having to pay for a fancy stadium. Oakland simply doesn’t have the money to be a three-team city. They couldn’t afford to renovate much, and they couldn’t afford a new stadium for the Raiders.
The truth is, neither could Raiders owner Mark Davis. Davis, who’s net worth is 500 million dollars (and inherited the team from father Al Davis) ranks 29th out of 32 teams net worth by owners. The cost of a new stadium has now reached the billions mark. Davis couldn’t afford to pay for the stadium on his own.
Still, the Raiders NEEDED a fix. If the city of Oakland can’t afford the fix, and Mark Davis can’t afford the fix, who pays for the fix?
Answer: Las Vegas does. To the tune of 750 million dollars!
This is smart for Las Vegas. They’re bringing in another attraction to a city filled with attractions! After adding a hockey team, they’ve created a base for a sports following.
Still, I see some problems that could arise from all of this.
For one, most of the Las Vegas population are tourists. That means fans of other teams visiting Vegas to come see their team play against the Raiders. While the Raiders might be good right now, teams fluctuate from successful and unsuccessful. It’s natural. I worry that a majority of attendants will be fans of the opposing team instead of the Raiders. Further, what happens when the Raiders stop being successful?
Secondly, and I don’t understand the details of this all, but a city centered around gambling mixed with a home sports team doesn’t sound like the best idea in the world. I’m not sure what kind of normal problems could occur, but in a worst-case scenario it seems more likely a Black Sox situation could occur when a player is spending every day in that city.
Is this move good or bad? Let me know what you think and stay tuned.