After years of rumblings about owner Al Davis' wish to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, his son, Mark Davis, has finally accomplished that this year as the Raiders are set to play in 'Sin City' in the near future. After a last-ditch move to keep the team in Oakland by city officials failed, the NFL owners in all but one, decided to grant the request of the Raiders ownership to move to Las Vegas as soon as the new stadium was built, making the Raiders the latest California-based National Football League team to move away from their home.
The lack of a new stadium deal was the catalyst for the move
Mark Davis had spent years trying to build a viable stadium in Oakland for the team but was unable to find the right combination of location and finances to move the Raiders from the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum. After consulting with lawmakers in Nevada, Davis was able to obtain $750 million in public funding to build a new stadium. In Las Vegas, just as his father had wanted. In total, the Raiders new home is set to cost about $1.7 billion and be a domed stadium in the city. Davis greeted the press after the owners' meeting and stated that his father always said "the greatness of the Raiders is in its future" and that the "opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness."
The Raiders had failed to find enough financing to keep the team in Oakland and even with a late appeal by the city of Oakland, the NFL owners had decided that relocation was necessary. Only the Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross voted against the move, stating that as owners and as a league, the fans were owed by the teams to "do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted." The move does come with a few roadblocks to overcome. The new stadium is not set to be completed until 2020 so the Raiders plan to play in the Coliseum for at least two seasons, with Davis open to playing in Oakland in 2019 as well. The league, as presented by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, will be looking at other venues for the Raiders in 2019 but as of right now, the Raiders will remain in Oakland until the stadium is finished.
Raiders Nation will be left feeling betrayed by the ownership
Davis addressed the fans as well, stating that "the Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA," He went on to say that he knew that some would not greet this news with any sort of positive emotions but he hoped that "they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches, and staff." He acknowledged that the Raiders would still be in Oakland for another two years and that he would "would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area."
Davis may have tried to dampen the negativity this move will receive but it will be a bitter pill to swallow for Oakland natives as they have had to witness countless seasons where the Raiders were not even close to a playoff conversation only to see them go now that they finally have a good team. There were also pictures floating around on social media of how the Davis' family had in 1998, registered the trademark of the Las Vegas Raiders which will not endear the ownership to the fans at this moment. This move will not be the first time the Bay Area has had to see their team go as the Raiders were once based in Los Angeles from 1982 until 1994 but this time, it feels final.