The Oakland Raiders are pretty much a lame duck in Northern California. Set to open a brand-new Las Vegas stadium in time for the 2020 season, things have gotten ugly between the Raiders and officials in Oakland.
Namely, Oakland has threatened to file a multimillion-dollar antitrust lawsuit against both the Raiders and the NFL surrounding their pending move to Nevada. Meanwhile, there has been no deal struck between the Raiders and the Oakland Coliseum for the team to play there beyond the 2018 season.
According to Matier and Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle, this means there’s a good chance that the Raiders pack up for the desert metropolis in time for the 2019 season.
“If the Raiders can’t reach a deal with East Bay officials for the Coliseum, odds are they wind up playing for a year or two at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium until their new home is ready, league sources say,” the report read.
It’s an interesting dynamic to look at. There had been other options for the Raiders in Northern California. That included playing on-campus at CAL or Stanford until their new venue in Vegas was ready. But this report indicates that neither school is open to that possibility.
And while Levi’s Stadium was built for two teams, a lackluster relationship between the 49ers and Raiders’ front offices makes that possibility slim.
UNLV is set to play its home football games at the Raiders’ soon-to-be built venue just off the strip. There’s a relationship between the school and Mark Davis’ club. A partnership at Sam Boyd Stadium could make sense.
Then again, there’s logistical concerns. The capacity at Sam Boyd Stadium is just 40,000. The venue is also in the Vegas’ suburb of Henderson, about a 22-minute drive from the strip (without traffic).
Either way, it’s becoming clear that the Raiders’ relationship with Oakland is on its final legs. Since announcing their move to Vegas, things haven’t gotten any better. And if it deteriorates any further between now and January, we could be looking at the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019.