Football fans in Las Vegas have been anticipating the Raiders moving to their city and kicking off in Allegiant Stadium for years. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s now a chance the Raiders won’t play in Las Vegas when the NFL season begins.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore, the Raiders considered playing in Salt Lake City, Phoenix or San Diego last offseason due to their stadium uncertainty in Oakland. Now with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the risk that further construction on Allegiant Stadium could be delayed, the Raiders are now contemplating contingency plans.
Recently, a construction worker helping at the Raiders’ new stadium tested positive for COVID-19. While areas of the construction project where the worker wasn’t in direct contact are still being worked on, further delays remain a realistic possibility for the project.
Construction work on Allegiant Stadium was deemed essential by the state government with the projected expected to be finished by the end of July. If further delays occur, though, that would push the project into August and the Raiders would need to find a temporary home for preseason games.
Given the expected restrictions in California, San Diego likely wouldn’t be a plausible option for the Raiders. In that case, Phoenix might serve as the team’s temporary home given its proximity to Las Vegas.
While these contingency plans are in preparation for the worst-case scenario, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that the worst can happen. In the event of a delay, the Raiders could use the early portion of the season to continue construction on their new stadium.
Given the uncertainty for the NFL season even starting on time, though, the Raiders might not need to play games in an alternate location anyways.