Rumors surrounding the Oakland Raiders have shown that owner Mark Davis has expressed immense interest in moving the team to Las Vegas. This ESPN article explains that Davis and Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, met to discuss the potential move.
A 42-acre lot, just a few blocks from the famous Las Vegas strip, has been chosen as a potential spot to start potential work on a $1.3 billion stadium project for a permanent home for the team, should it indeed move.
There are some unique qualities that a professional football team in Las Vegas could bring, both positive and negative. The first would have to be that, with Vegas being America’s betting capital, and a ton of money being put into NFL betting already, having a team directly in the city, with athletes and executives in close range to betting sharks, gambling could run rampant.
The NFL, though it is not necessarily illegal, has taken pretty strong stances against betting over the years, so with all the money that gambling could bring into the city with the team being there, it might be a bad look for the league to go against what they have been saying for a long time.
Along with gambling profits, having an NFL team would bring in a lot of other money into the Las Vegas economy too. There is so much traffic into Vegas already, so a team could add onto the list of famous tourist attractions in the city. Away-fans would need places to stay, eat, and entertain themselves before and after the game, which would pump even more money into the city economy.
The football games themselves would bring in a lot of money, but having a stadium that size would also allow for other events, such as concerts and massive shows, to take place in the stadium when there are not games, an option that seemingly doesn’t exist at the moment.
The fan base in Oakland would be disappointed to see their team leave. However, being that Las Vegas does not already have a team, a large portion of their population are Raider fans anyway, so the transition would be relatively painless in that regard.
As there are no other major professional sports teams in Las Vegas, a move by the Raiders would give them the lone loyalty of the city, that other sports franchises like the Sacramento Kings, the San Antonio Spurs, or the San Jose Sharks get from their respective fan bases. There would be no other teams to have to compete with, making the football team the main athletic focus.
This being the center of attention in a unique city would be one of a possible multitude of reasons that Las Vegas could be an interesting prospect for free agents to come and play in the city.
There are other factors that could bring potential free-agents and happy prospective rookies to the city to play as well. One, which could be both helpful and harmful, is that there would always be plenty of entertainment for players when they are not studying the game or at practice. This could lead to some real mistakes and suspensions if taken the wrong way, but it could also mean that the responsible players are able to have fun and enjoy a town that offers a lot of enjoyment for adults who partake in its lifestyle.
Lastly, the state of Nevada does not, at this point, charge a state income tax. The players would still have to pay all the other taxes that US workers pay, but they would be exempt for a significant portion of their money. This means that whatever contract they are signed to, more of the money actually goes into their pockets on pay day.
The league has not made anything official yet, and the Raiders are scheduled to lease their current stadium this year, with the option of two more after, so the move would not be immediate. In order for the Raiders to actually be able to move, the league would also have to have an owners vote, in which 24 out of 32 teams would have to agree to allow the shift. Even though nothing is set yet, it is still very interesting to look at the potential outcomes of a move to Las Vegas.
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