Oakland to Raiders: Can you move to Vegas sooner than later, please?

Punchline to that story about Oakland coming out ahead once the Raiders leave for Las Vegas because the Coliseum Authority loses money hosting football games: Oakland has figured it out, and would like the Raiders gone as soon as possible, please:

“I would say to you with the highest level of confidence, my opinion and recommendation and that of my board members — I don’t believe there is any appetite for a third season (in Oakland),” Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority executive director Scott McKibben told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday…

“It’s actually financially to our benefit if they didn’t exercise the options and play here even in the two years they’ve got (in 2017 and 2018),” McKibben added.

That third year is actually up to the Coliseum Authority: The Raiders have lease options in Oakland for 2017 and 2018, but for 2019 — the last year before their new Las Vegas dome is expected to be ready — they can only remain in Oakland if the authority okays it. This raises the possibility of the team actually being evicted and forced to play in UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium for a year. Though a lease extension that sees Raiders owner Mark Davis pay more in rent for 2019 is probably more likely — unless Raiders attendance the next two seasons plummets and makes Davis figure it’s best to get out ASAP, of course, which is entirely possible.

Either way, the prospect of a city evicting a pro sports team because it would do better financially to have its stadium stand empty is a pretty damning indictment of the supposed economic benefits of sports teams, or at least of the sweetheart leases that cities usually hand out. Really, this is something for local elected officials to take notice of when their teams are arriving, not when they’re on their way out — yes, Nevada, I’m talking to you.


16 comments on “Oakland to Raiders: Can you move to Vegas sooner than later, please?

  1. Sam Boyd Stadium could supposedly handle 40,000 fans and even the 35,000 capacity it has been listing for UNLV games is larger than where the Chargers will be playing temporarily in LA. The Raiders have recently averaged just over 50,000 in Oakland and that was before they announced they’d be leaving. Not impossible they could draw better in Vegas right now than in Oakland even using a smaller stadium.

    But Davis supposedly wants to start out in Vegas in the new stadium so maybe he sticks it out in Oakland as long as he can and plays a season in Santa Clara sharing with the 49ers. That would make way more sense than a year in San Antonio or some other random spot.

    • Good Sense has nothing to do with where the Raiders play. Show them the money. Until someone is willing to take a substantial bath to host the Raiders temporarily , they’ll stay in Oakland.

      • Read the article–Oakland is unlikely to let them play the third year so they’re going to have to find someplace else to play.

    • “But Davis supposedly wants to start out in Vegas in the new stadium …”

      That might be a good idea. Fans would seem more likely to pony up for pricey PSLs if the newly-arrived team is quick to play in the new stadium. Stinking the burg up for a few years before moving into the palace could well undercut PSL sales for the palace. (At least some hope that that’s what’ll happen with the Cleveland-Los Angeles-Anaheim-St. Louis-Los Angeles-Inglewood Rams and Kroenkeville.)

  2. Still think it’s painfully stupid to not go to Sam Boyd for a few. Even at a 35,000 capacity that’s likely better than would they’d do for two or maybe three seasons in Oakland. Didn’t anyone learn from the Houston Oilers to Nashville thing?

    • I agree Marty.

      I wonder if part of this is down to Davis not wanting to discourage fans with a debut at an outdoor stadium (and with a team that, let’s face it, will almost certainly be a basement dweller again by then…)?

      Maybe he’s banking on having both the “new stadium” and “new team” attraction happen at the same time. Or maybe he just hasn’t realized that Oakland fans won’t support three seasons spending heavily just to wish the Raiders bon voyage to LV?

      It’s Davis. Anything is possible.

  3. My guess is that as much as anything else the Raiders don’t want to play day games outdoors in the desert in September and October. Same problem the Cardinals ran into at Sun Devil…that building was often empty early in the season because fans didn’t want to bake in the heat…and then it was empty late in the season because the Cards were so terrible. I say evict them and let ’em bake.

  4. This isn’t the NHL where tickets sold is a big chunk of total revenue. The Raiders are already near the bottom of the ticket price column. They can play in an empty stadium and it won’t move the bottom line much. So having a sweet lease and not having to move twice in 3 years is worth staying . Even if their place isn’t done on time San Antonio might step up or even Oakland might bend over one last time for the NFL. After all these cities are all NFL whores at the end of the day.

    • “After all these cities are all NFL whores at the end of the day.”

      So sad; so true. Were the Raiders to offer to play its ’19 “home” games in Qualcomm in SD or in the Dome in STL, one suspects that the city fathers in either would welcome them with open arms.

  5. Side note: the idiom is “sooner rather than later” (not “sooner than later”).

    Anyway, that’s a nitpick in an overall great resource.

  6. The current owner has really never done a thing to build a fan base in the City of Oakland. Maybe it’s too much for us to expect him to think about building a fan base in Las Vegas?

    For all we know, he might sue the NFL for approving his move… or for not doing so unanimously, or for taking the Oakland rights away from him after he has moved… Heredity, etc.

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