The Black Hole is moving to Las Vegas. By way of a vortex, the Raiders transcend through the dilapidated O.Co Coliseum and arrive on the glitzy Las Vegas strip, where dreams are born and destroyed in the same breath.
NFL Owners Approve Raiders Move To Las Vegas
The vote took place on Monday at the annual owner’s meeting in Pheonix, Arizona and was nearly unanimously decided upon. A convincing 31-1 (Miami only Nay) vote broke the hearts of Oakland and elevated Vegas to the newest member of the NFL community.
Logistically the move makes total sense as Nevada lawmakers approved $750 million in public funding for a new stadium. Oakland could not come to terms with Davis to build a new stadium that the Raiders required.
In a last ditch effort, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf penned a letter to NFL owners outlining a proposal for a $1.3 billion stadium project in Oakland that would include public financing. But Davis’s mind was already made up, and the money in Vegas was too good not to gamble with.
The Raiders and NFL will provide $500 million in funding and Bank of America will pick up the remaining tab. The planned domed stadium in Vegas is expected to cost an estimated $1.7 billion.
“My father always said, ‘the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,’ and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness,” Davis said.
The excitement of a move to Vegas leaves the Raiders in an awkward situation, however. The stadium is not slated to be completed until 2020, and the Raiders plan to play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2017 and 2018. In the league presser on Monday, Davis even expressed openness to playing a third season in Oakland in 2019. Like a relationship that ends in a breakup, but the couple decides to continue living together, it will be a very strange and awkward period.
“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA,” Davis said Monday. “We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches, and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
It seems like the Raiders have been searching for a new stadium in its entire 57-year existence.
The Raiders left Oakland for Los Angeles after the 1981 season due to stadium issues. The late Al Davis wanted to upgrade the Oakland Coliseum, specifically noting the addition of luxury box suites, but the City of Oakland denied allocating funds for renovations. So Davis took the team and left for L.A., despite a vote down by the league.
After 12 years in Los Angeles, and playing as a tenant in the Los Angeles Coliseum, Davis faced the same problem. No new stadium deal was reached and Davis moved the team back to Oakland after the city agreed to pay $220 million in stadium renovations.
The prodigal son had returned and was met with open arms.
Now 22 years later, the son accomplished what the father could not. A stadium to call their own. After years as a wanderer, a nomad, a tenant, the Raiders will have the stadium that they have so longingly desired.
Raider Nation has been a mantra that has never been tied down to a location. Its limbs do not bear fruit from just one tree, but rather seed a forest that grows far and wide.
The Raider brand is one that exists worldwide, and Davis now hopes that this nation can coexist between Oakland and Las Vegas.
Viva Las Vegas. Viva Las Raiders.