Las Vegas is currently shopping around for an NFL team to relocate to the city in the very near future, and the two organizations leading the pack are the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers. Both teams are excited about the prospect of a Las Vegas relocation, and some of the most powerful people in the NFL, such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, have pledged their support of a Las Vegas squad, but obstacles still stand in both teams’ ways in regards to the move.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) May 12, 2016
The Raiders have wanted out of Oakland for years. It has been revealed in the past that the city and the team’s management do not get along. In addition, points out CBS Sports Network, the Raiders badly need a new stadium, and the Oakland city council has not demonstrated any signs of a willingness to build one.
Las Vegas, on the other hand, is extremely open to hosting an NFL team.
Major professional sports teams have stayed away from Las Vegas in the past because of concerns about betting on the games, a practice which is legal in Las Vegas, points out Youtube channel AHAT Battle Rap League. But other YouTubers argue that betting on professional sports teams happens everywhere, whether it is illegal or not, and the frequency of bets would be unchanged if the team were to be based in Las Vegas.
The NFL itself seems to side with the Raiders and other supporters of the Las Vegas move and agree that the betting issue is not a problem. Jerry Jones, one of the single most powerful decision-makers in the NFL, spoke to ESPN during an interview at a golf tournament in Texas on Wednesday and said that the prospects of a Las Vegas Raiders team is looking brighter every day.
“For me, I think that certainly the fact that Las Vegas has a gambling aspect to it is far overshadowed by the entertainment value, if you will, family appeal, that you have, the convention appeal. So it does not have disfavor with me, in my opinion, relative to being an NFL city.”
Jones also said that Las Vegas would be an excellent city for an NFL team because lots of residents of the city — as well as many Las Vegas vacationers — are football fans.
“[Las Vegas] has a flair for entertainment, and it has two million people, and they’re avid sports fans, the full-time residents,” Jones said.
“They have a huge visiting contingent that more often than not are fans of some NFL football teams. You add all that together, and it’s certainly in a conversation about the future relative to the NFL.”
To add to Jones’ point about a large fan presence, the CBS Sports Network discussion cited above notes that a rapidly growing percentage of Las Vegas’s population is made up of Hispanics, who also make up a large portion of the Raiders fanbase.
Influential NFL elites like Jones are not the only ones who support the prospect of the Las Vegas Raiders; the Raiders’ owner, Mark Davis, is also very jazzed about the idea. In addition to not getting on well with the city of Oakland, Davis said in a conference on April 28, he wants the Raiders to play in a football-specific stadium, something Oakland cannot provide. Davis is so dedicated to the move, in fact, that he promised to contribute a whopping $500 million to the new stadium’s construction if the city of Las Vegas approves the team’s move there from Oakland.
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 11, 2016
And therein lies the first big hurdle the Raiders must overcome before they can call Las Vegas home: Vegas has to give them the okay to move in first.
According to Construction Equipment Guide, supporters of the move say Las Vegas would benefit greatly from the move, both financially and in terms of reputation. Although adopting the Raiders organization and building a stadium for them would cost the city $1.4 billion, it has been said that all the government-directed money the Las Vegas Raiders would bring to the city, such as hotel taxes, would exceed $2.7 billion over 30 years — the amount of time for which an NFL stadium can be expected to last. In addition, the city would have a huge venue (the stadium) to host big events like concerts and exhibitions, and the city’s national profile as something other than a cesspool for gamblers would be raised.
The other major obstacle between the Raiders and a Las Vegas residency is that at least 22 of the 32 existing NFL team owners have to endorse the Vegas relocation if it is to happen. Again, the NFL, like every other major professional sports league, has traditionally kept its distance from Vegas, but the resounding approval of someone as NFL-dominant as Jerry Jones could go a long way in terms of changing the tide.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) April 27, 2016
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]