The Oakland Raiders won’t carry that name much longer after NFL owners voted in favor of the team relocating to Las Vegas on Monday.
This is a move that is sad for fans of the franchise in Northern California, and Roger Goodell said after the vote that he is “disappointed” that a move had to be made.
But if we’re being honest, it’s going to be great for the Raiders and the league in general. Let’s examine some of the ways the Raiders to Las Vegas is going to be awesome.
1. No more Northern/Southern California dilemma
Given the finances to lure the Raiders to Las Vegas (staggering details here), we can be assured the team is going to be stuck in Sin City for a long time. This is a really good thing, and it completely wipes out the old Northern/Southern California dilemma that the Davis family dealt with since first leaving Oakland after the 1981 season.
No longer will anyone have to wonder if Oakland or Los Angeles (or even San Diego) will have to deal with the Raiders coming and going.
Mark Davis said recently that he thinks Raiders Nation would embrace a move to Las Vegas. That’s certainly going to be put to the test now, but we’re betting (no pun intended) the owner’s not wrong on this count.
The issue of regional fan loyalty is now a thing of the past. Raiders Nation can unify under one roof now, which leads us to our next point beautifully.
2. Raiders fans in California can still make games relatively easily
After the shock of disappointment that the Raiders are no longer going to stay in the state wears off, fans living in California won’t have to travel far to get to games in Vegas.
Especially fans living in Southern California. It’s a relatively quick drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (under four hours driving the speed limit), and flying there from LA gives people just a long enough trip to grab a catnap before touching down.
From the Bay Area or the Sacramento region, where many Raiders fans dwell, it’s a bit longer to drive but not much longer to fly. A well-planned road trip would take roughly eight hours from San Francisco/Oakland, and it’ll take about the same time from the Sacramento area as well. Again, flying from both regions to Las Vegas wouldn’t take hardly any time at all.
No, it’s not quite as convenient as driving a couple hours to get to a game, but it’s not unreasonable to assume many Raiders fans living in California will eagerly plan visits to Vegas to see their favorite team play.
3. NFL won’t have to realign, as Raiders will stay in AFC West
If Kansas City is in the AFC West, then Las Vegas is still “west,” right? That’s an easy argument to make, and it’s one that likely had a lot to do with how easily the vote went down in favor of relocating the Raiders to Nevada.
Realigning conferences in the NFL isn’t something anyone likes to do, and with this move, the NFL can contently keep things status quo in this department.
The Raiders will not have any traveling issues. In fact, they actually are in a slightly better position now in Vegas relative to their AFC West competitors, the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
Logistically, this move is a win-win for the AFC West.
4. Plenty of support for an NFL team in Vegas and surrounding areas
One of the big things detractors have tried to use against an NFL succeeding in Las Vegas is the “transient population” argument.
But taking a look at the larger scope, not just counting Las Vegas’ population of around 600,000 people, is the fact that Henderson, Nevada, is very close and sports another 300,000 people (with an average household income of $63,000). This means there are just under 1,000,000 people living within reasonable driving distance to the new stadium that’s going to be built on the strip.
Here’s some additional information, per Vincent Frank of Forbes.com, that supports the notion Vegas is very well equipped to help an NFL team thrive long term.
“San Diego County in Southern California consists of 3.3 million people with an average household income of $64,000 (via Census.gov). That seems similar, at least when it comes to economic attainment. Though, we then have to look at cost of living. As to where the median home value in San Diego is $429,000, it sits at just $219,000 in Henderson (via Census.gov). The Raiders’ current home of Oakland currently boasts a median hose value of $458,000 with an average household income of $54,000. (Via Census.gov). Simply put, there’s money to be spent on recreation like football in the Las Vegas area.”
Add in the influx of money pouring in every weekend from tourists wanting to watch an NFL game and you have quite the thriving market.
The Raiders will likely have no issues selling out every single game, which means more money for the team and the league in general.
5. Another state of the art facility that can become part of Super Bowl rotation
Have you seen the artist renderings of the new stadium that will be built in Las Vegas? It’s going to be absolutely gorgeous (look here).
The new stadium is also going to be incredibly advanced, will be very close to world-class restaurants and hotels already in place and is going to be close to a very accessible airport.
It’s almost like Vegas was made for Super Bowls. And you can be sure that as soon as the new stadium is being built, it’s going to get some first-class treatment from the NFL in terms of landing a Super Bowl very quickly.
A city that is used to heavy tourism, Vegas won’t bat an eyelash at the NFL bringing in a veritable army of media and staff for a week of frenzied coverage of the biggest game of the year.
6. Hot takes whenever an opposing team loses a close game
This one’s a bit more fun.
Imagine the uproar when Dez Bryant’s touchdown grab ends up being ruled incomplete. It’s going to be crazy, right? Or how about the frenzy that will ensue when a close call ends up costing a team a win?
The go-to hot take will be to assume that, because the game is being played in Vegas, that somehow the fix is in.
This is going to be a hilarious (to us, at least) byproduct of having games played in one of the biggest gambling capitals of the world.
Though the NFL needs to be on guard against any potential scandals, the fact of the matter is that, given the digital age we live in, location isn’t an issue when it comes to gambling. People can, for the most part, gamble on NFL games from the comfort of their own homes.
Contesting games where plenty of gambling takes place isn’t going to lead to contests getting fixed. But it sure will lead to some hot takes about the outcomes whenever things go sideways.