We saw it coming. But Monday it became official. The Oakland Raiders will soon become the Las Vegas Raiders.
The league voted 31-1 in approval to allow the team to move to Sin City. They’ll be the second major pro sports team to play in Vegas after the NHL’s Golden Knights start their first season later this year.
The move is incredibly interesting because the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell have openly opposed the legalization of gambling, yet, because of their desperation for a new stadium, have now allowed the Raiders to move to an area where dozens of casinos will be just blocks away from their new home base. And at about 600,000 people, Las Vegas is only about half the size of the Oakland/Bay Area.
“We believe we and the Raiders worked earnestly in Oakland for over a decade to try to find that viable option in Oakland. … I know the ownership feels they went that extra mile to try to find that solution in Oakland. … Unfortunately, as you know, we didn’t get that done and we’re all disappointed,” Goodell said Monday.
Oakland fans have to be devastated, considering the team already left once for L.A. in 1981, this newest move is like winning back the girl that left you for another man, only to watch her leave again for a showgirl. Heck, the city is considering suing the team in order to get them to stay.
There is one catch. Although the owners have approved the move, the Raiders still need to get a lease agreement and a stadium developer in Vegas. The Raiders are essentially guaranteed to stay in Oakland until 2019 or 2020 until a new $1.9 billion stadium is built.
Here is what Raiders QB Derek Carr had to say.
It’s always a shame to see a fan base lose their team. While San Diego was a travesty, Oakland has been fighting to save their team for a decade and the team still wasn’t able to work out a deal for a new stadium. The Raiders were last in the league in revenue last year and play in the worst stadium in the NFL, therefore this move has been inevitable for a long time now. The question is, how long will the Vegas experiment last. Because that’s exactly what this is.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.