Raiders’ relocation brings mixed feelings
Another National Football League organization has fallen victim to relocation. The NFL gave its approval on Monday, March 27 for the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, putting aside all the fears of putting a professional team in the largest gambling market in the world.
The 32 NFL team owners held a meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. and voted overwhelmingly 31-1 in favor of the move. Only Stephen Ross of the Miami Dolphins voted no. The owners deduced that having a team in Las Vegas would allow the league to take advantage of the city’s booming tourist trade, image of commotion, and its willingness to devote hundreds of millions of dollars toward the construction of a new stadium.
For years, teams have steered clear of Las Vegas because some owners thought that putting a team there would lead more players and officials to talk with distasteful characters from the world of gambling trying to control and affect the outcome of games.
But those attitudes have disappeared with the growth and approval of gambling around the country, and with the city’s reduced dependence on revenue from its numerous casinos.
The National Hockey League agreed last year to create a team in Las Vegas, the Golden Knights, that will begin to play next year.
The Raiders, who have one of the most passionate fan bases, are likely to begin playing in Las Vegas as soon as 2019, with the lease at their current stadium expiring after the 2018 season.
Raiders fans seem to be everywhere, including at the University of San Diego. Jayden Yeoman is a student originally from Vegas, while senior Jared Sclar is from the Bay Area. On the subject of the Raiders leaving the city of Oakland, Sclar is shocked.
“It is hard to imagine,” Sclar said. “The Raiders are such an integral part of Oakland culture and have been for years. It feels like a bit of betrayal to the city and the fans who have supported the team through so many terrible years in the recent past.”
The NFL has been pushing for a team to move to Vegas for a while, and Sclar believes it will benefit the NFL.
“Vegas is a big market and keeping the team in Oakland is not generating a lot of revenue,” Sclar said. “So I would say it’s pretty much 100 percent profit-motivated by the league and the owners.”
When it comes to what the city of Oakland will do next, Sclar was a little indecisive.
“Maybe [Oakland will] look for another football team?” Sclar said. “It will be a financial hit, but the Golden State Warriors are bringing in a lot, so I think the city will be just fine.”
Yeoman is excited that they finally have a team to represent her beautiful city.
“I love the fact that Vegas will finally have a team at home that we can go cheer for,” Yeoman said. “I love the fact that we can go to the ballgame on Sunday and watch one of the best teams in football.”
With regards to what it will do for the city, she had high remarks.
“I think it is going to create a passionate community of people who are really excited,” Yeoman said. “It will be cool to experience that excitement in the city on game days.”
Las Vegas is known as a big city with tons of distractions. Yeoman thinks it will be rough at first, but will benefit them in the long run.
“It will probably be a little frustrating at first, as Vegas is already always bustling with tourists and events,” Yeoman said. “But I think once things settle down the Raiders will be just another exciting experience on the strip that people can either take advantage of or ignore.”
Fans are not the only skeptics of how the city will handle taking in a team, but professional athletes as well. Brandon Marshall, a wide receiver for the New York Giants, voiced some concerns about the Raiders’ looming move to Sin City. He shared his thoughts to NBC Sports in late March.
“It can be a tough place for a player coming out of college,” Marshall said. “It can be overwhelming for a young player.”
Marshall is a player who had his own difficulties in his early years in the league, and there’s no shortage of other players who have similar stories, so trouble can be found anywhere a player might be looking for it.
The USD Vista reached out to Torero football players who have put their name in the 2017 NFL Draft. The players declined to comment.
The potential for it in Vegas may be more in front of them, however, and that is something the Las Vegas Raiders may be balancing when they start acquiring players to play for them in their new home.
Written by Jake Ellis, Contributor