Word broke Monday that the NFL approved the proposed move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, Nevada. The current thinking is that the Raiders will begin play there in 2019 at Sam Boyd Stadium on the eastern end of town, as the domed stadium will likely not be ready until 2020.
It’s a big acquisition for Las Vegas, who now have a NFL team to go with the new NHL team beginning later this fall, the Vegas Golden Knights. I can’t imagine the NBA and MLB being far behind in efforts to expand or move there. Plus, Las Vegas probably gets to host a Super Bowl sometime in the future.
I do feel bad for Oakland, who has now lost their beloved Raiders yet again. Their football stadium was the last facility left in the States sharing a facility with a baseball team, the Oakland Athletics. They needed a new stadium, but the city leaders somehow decided it wasn’t going to be.
As I’ve probably said before, the Raiders in Las Vegas are a perfect fit, and the days of wondering if Sin City can be a big league sports town are nearing its end.
They will have challenges to overcome being the 40th biggest media market in the country at present. They do have the advantage of being a town everyone wants to visit, which is what I think the NFL is banking on to make the venture viable. Or, as Brent Musburger suggested in a recent VSIN.com column, could this move pave the way for legalized sports wagering nationwide?
I’ve long been a Las Vegas fan, so I’m happy for them.