NFL Approves Raider’s Las Vegas Relocation
Written by Marcus Asman
In a surprise move, the NFL voted to approve the application of the Oakland Raiders to relocate to the city of Las Vegas. The vote wasn’t even close, as the final tally was 31 to 1. The approval also covers the plan of the Raiders to build a domed stadium in the city that will cost $1.9 billion.
The plan is for the team to remain in its current Oakland home for 2 to 3 years. Las Vegas has yet to build a stadium that can hold an NFL game.
The Odds against Relocation
It was only recently when such a move was considered a long shot. The NFL was known to value stability in its franchises, and this would be the 3rd relocation for NFL teams in a little over a year. Earlier, the Chargers and the Rams were both given the go signal to move to LA.
The move to LA for 2 teams was understandable. Los Angeles is a huge market that has been untapped for many years, and it already had a prior history of supporting two NFL teams.
In contrast, Las Vegas doesn’t have any sports team in any of the major pro leagues. It’s just too small, and for years the league contended that it was just too small to support a pro football franchise.
It didn’t make sense from a market size point of view, considering that the Raiders are leaving a media market that’s ranked 6th in size in the US,
The reputation of the city regarding vice and gambling also doesn’t promote the family-friendly reputation the NFL has been aiming for. The place also presents numerous temptations for players that can tarnish the reputation of the league.
How the Odds Were Overcome
The NFL has made recent studies about the Las Vegas market, and it liked the above-average growth of the city. Its aversion to the gambling in the city has been tempered by the rising growth of online gambling. It also helped that the league has been mulling a team based in London and the UK capitol residents love to bet.
The Raiders had complained that there were no viable options for a new stadium in Oakland, and it didn’t help that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf refused to allocate public funds to subsidize the construction of the new stadium.
On the other hand, the financial plan for the new stadium in Las Vegas includes $750 million from the Nevada legislature that will come from new taxes. Another $500 million will come from the Raiders and the NFL. The rest of the costs will be covered by a loan from the Bank of America.
The obvious fan reaction to the move was of dismay and anger. Many fans avowed to no longer attend the games. That can prove problematic in the next 2 years or so.
However, the local revenue of the Raiders was already the 2nd lowest in the NFL. That was the problem that would be solved by the move. As for whether the team will thrive in Sin City, everyone’s making their own bets.