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Can the Raiders Make it in Sin City

April 5, 2017

Las Vegas sign prepped to well the Raiders. Illustration /Lucas Newcomb

Las Vegas sign prepped to well the Raiders. Illustration /Lucas Newcomb

Las Vegas sign prepped to well the Raiders. Illustration /Lucas Newcomb

Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t want to hear about loyalty. I don’t want to hear that the Raiders owe their fans in Oakland for sticking by the team through a decade of bad football.

The NFL and the Raiders are a business, which, at the end of the day, must do what is best for business. You follow the money — and the money is in Las Vegas, not Oakland.

The most common thing I hear when I talk to Raider fans about the Raiders movie to Las Vegas is that AL Davis would be turning in his grave right about now.

Have we forgotten that we’re talking about the same man who moved the Raiders to Los Angeles because the city would not fund stadium renovations?

He then moved the team back from LA to Oakland when the team had a losing record seven times in nine seasons. Stadium attendance dipped and they could not get a stadium deal done in LA either.

Last year, we saw it with the St. Louis Rams when they left and moved to Los Angeles. Owner Stan Kroenke wanted a new stadium but didn’t want one in St. Louis; he saw dollar signs in LA, the number two TV market in the US.

Dean Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers, was in a similar situation to Mark Davis, Raiders’ owner in Oakland he too did not have money to finance a stadium in San Diego and his stadium proposals were not passed on the voting ballot, therefore he decided to join the Rams and share their stadium in LA.

Mark Davis was not capable of getting a stadium built in Oakland when all three of the other major sports teams in the Bay Area were able to get a stadium built.

The San Francisco Giants got a privately funded stadium built in San Francisco, and the 49ers opened a stadium in Santa Clara three years ago. This year, the Golden State Warriors broke ground on their new privately funded $1 billion stadium only a few blocks down from the Giants AT&T Park.

Yet for some reason, in the thriving Silicon Valley there is no money or investors/partners to get a stadium done in Oakland or to at least keep the team in the Bay like other sports teams have.

Even when Hall of Fame safety put together a group of investors to fund the stadium, Mark Davis was not willing to work with them to help keep the team in Oakland.

The most telling part is that the Raiders could not get a stadium proposal done with the city of Oakland. Since their 2015 failed attempt to move back to Los Angeles, Davis has been dead set on moving the team away from Oakland, instead of trying to find a solution or a new home in the bay area.

Mark Davis had to rely on billionaire Mogul Sheldon Adelson to help finance the $1.9 Billion 65,000 seat domed stadium in Vegas with Adelson pledging $650 million which he later withdrew when negotiations fell apart. Davis was able to secure a new partner in Bank of America to help finance the stadium.

There is no loyalty in professional sports — not to players, not to coaches and certainly not to the cities the teams reside in. The move to Las Vegas is all about the money. Players don’t have guaranteed contracts and can be released at a moment’s notice. Coaches get fired the moment the team starts to spiral down, no matter how much success they’ve had in the past.

The NFL and the Raiders see all the potential money that can be made in Las Vegas. Raiders see a city eager to have a team that their taxpayers voted to give $750 million to publicly fund a Stadium; they were able to find a partner to finance their stadium.

Vegas is after all the entertainment capital of the world, offering high risk and high reward. The NFL and Raiders are banking on a high reward.

With the stadium opening in 2020, one can already see the money being raked in with a Super Bowl and countless events at the stadium.

The fans in Oakland have seen the true colors of their sports team for the second time. The Raider Nation will stay loyal,  just like they did the first time they left.

That’s the one thing I am sure of. Hopefully the Raiders can provide one last parade to the city of Oakland before breaking its heart and bolting to Sin City.

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