Photo of Oakland Raiders players in the huddle during a game versus the Miami Dolphins.

Image Credit: Pete Sheffield (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Oakland Raiders organization has officially filed the paperwork necessary to relocate the team to Las Vegas, Nevada. The move comes after many years of speculation that the team would be relocating to a larger sports market such as Los Angeles, California. The potential move will first need to be approved by at least 75% of the league's owners. That vote will take place in March of 2017. The National Hockey League has beaten the NFL to the punch in becoming the first professional sports team in the city. 

The Oakland Raiders organization has tried to get the local taxpayers to help fund a brand new stadium for the last several years. Oakland Coliseum which also houses Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics, is one of the oldest and most out of date stadiums in professional sports. However, they were unable to get a deal done. (Bay area residents pay some of the highest taxes in the United States). The Bay Area Council is still pursuing last minute efforts on a stadium deal that could keep the Raiders in Oakland but time is running out. The Oakland Raiders will at least play their home games in Oakland for the 2018 and 2019 NFL seasons while the new stadium in Las Vegas is under construction. 

The National Football League has been skeptical about allowing a team to relocate to Las Vegas due to the heavy gambling culture the city has. I'm also anxious to see if players will be able to avoid the pitfalls of the Las Vegas nightlife scene as well. The construction costs for the future home of the Oakland Raiders will exceed $1 billion. The Oakland Raiders organization will contribute $500 million towards the stadium's construction and billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas Sands Corporation) has agreed to contribute more than $600 million. Adelson, however, wants to become an owner in exchange, which the NFL would prohibit. The most likely site for the future home of the Las Vegas Raiders will be off of interstate 15. The Oakland Raiders are making efforts to purchase the land at the moment, which is owned by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The alternative option for a new stadium for the Raiders would be a strip of land near the Bali Hai Golf Club.

There are also experts in the business sector that are skeptical that Las Vegas is a big enough market for two professional sports franchises. However, Las Vegas is a tourist city and will likely become a favorite destination for fans of the visiting team so there is potential there. As if you needed another reason to visit Las Vegas!




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