By Justin McKinney, Staff Writer
In what many saw coming and many hoped would never happen, the Raiders have officially announced that their team will be relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada at some point in the next two seasons.
The league owners voted and it was apparent that the owners where excited as the only team to not vote yes on the move was the Miami Dolphins. The Raiders moving should come as no shock, considering the city of Oakland has denied several of the team’s requests for a new stadium. However, I find the Las Vegas setting to be extremely risky for the Raiders franchise.
While I fully believe that the Raiders will see financial success as they will essentially become a tourist hot spot, and will find themselves as an away stadium that many non-Raider fans will want to attend. One has to wonder though if they will be able to keep young talent focused on football in Sin City.
We have seen it a lot over the years in all sports; young players get a taste of the pro-football lifestyle and before they know it they are cut because they spent too much time in the club and not enough in the gym. This problem has to be about 100 times more of one being that the Raiders will be playing Vegas.
To put this into perspective, about an hour after the Raiders proudly announced their move to Vegas, a brothel owner announced he would be opening up a Raiders themed brothel.
Not only is this a public relations nightmare, but good luck keeping these men focused on football when there is a brothel with their team name on it.
As if that weren’t enough these guys are in the gambling capital of the United States. Athletes love to gamble, it’s a fact, every year there is a new scandal with some athlete who lost millions gambling. I just don’t see how it is a good idea for a team to set up shop in Vegas with its reputation for gambling. In all honesty, if I was a visiting coach I would be worried about my team spending four days in Vegas; forget a four year rookie contract.
The city simply reeks of problems for a pro team. Even setting up a fan base is going to be tough since the city population is so heavily reliant on tourism. While every game might sellout, it is worth questioning how many of those people in the crowd will actually be Raiders fans.
Of course they will make their money as a franchise, but I imagine it would be tough to sell players on playing their home games in a stadium filled with fans wearing the other team’s jersey. How do you explain to players that on any given Sunday their home field can turn hostile against them? Especially with the Raiders having a reputation as a franchise with great fans, there is huge risk of them losing that draw for players as there is no guarantee they have a fan base in Vegas.
This move just seems to be leaving the team in a place with so many question marks.
While the city of Las Vegas is paying the Raiders big money, we can’t forget to mention being that the Raiders are the NFL’s bad boys it seems fitting they are the first team to call Vegas home. It just seems though that they are destined for a lot of stress that will come from the new city.