Raiders abandon their loyal fans for a larger market in Las Vegas
The Santa Clara
April 6, 2017
Raiders owner Mark Davis should be ashamed of himself for moving the Raiders to Las Vegas. He isn’t though—look no further than his haircut. The man has no shame. Still, it’s despicable that the Silver & Black are skipping town.
The Raiders have a proud history in Oakland. They have arguably the most devout fan base in all of sports and a promising young team. So then why are they leaving town? Money. Apparently Mark Davis, who’s worth $500 million yet drives a minivan, needs to pad his wallet.
There are varying levels of outrage for this move. Oakland fans have every right to despise Davis for taking away the Raiders, especially at this point. The timing of this move could not be more tragic.
Oakland fans stayed loyal through the tough years, watching JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden pretend to be professionals. Now they have a young, promising team built around Pro-Bowler Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack. This team is already respectable, but not yet true championship contenders. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and their five Lombardi trophies still stand in their way of reaching a Super Bowl. But Brady can’t play forever, and in a few years the Raiders could be poised to win it all. But by then, the parade route will weave past the fake Eiffel Tower and casino strip rather than the streets of Oakland.
Until then, the Raiders will still be renting out the Coliseum for two more years while their Vegas stadium gets built. They pledge their desire to bring a championship back to the Bay before they go and claim that that Oakland will forever be part of their DNA. Nobody should buy their pathetic attempt at sincerity.
The Raiders basically dumped Oakland, then asked if they could crash on their couch for two years. It’s insulting that they expect their fans to continue to turn out. Why would you? Why would you show any appreciation or loyalty to a team that has given none to you?
All of this falls into the football side of the story, and one could argue that Davis and the Raiders have every right to pursue a bigger market in Las Vegas and do what’s in the best interest of the organization. But it’s hard to defend the political side of this story—specifically the allocation of public funds to build a stadium for a multibillion dollar league.
Back in December, Oakland’s city council stupidly voted in a unanimous decision to contribute $350 million to build a new stadium in Oakland. The argument the league and owners always make for using public funds is that their new stadium will bolster the economy. But that claim has constantly been debunked, as only part-time, low wage jobs are created from stadiums that remain deserted for most of the year.
But Vegas upped the ante, pledging $750 million of taxpayer’s money to fund the stadium, which will cost $1.9 billion. The money will come from an increase in the tax on hotel rooms and the Raiders expect over 450,000 tourists to come to Las Vegas and visit the stadium. That money could be spent on schools and transportation, but instead will help the NFL and Mark Davis get even richer. Stanford economist Roger Noll said it’s the worst deal he’s ever seen.
“Selling one-third of the tickets to tourists might work if you’re playing the Rams, but if you’re playing Tampa, do you really expect 22,000 people to fly in from Tampa to go to the game?” Noll said. “It does not come anywhere near to paying for itself.”
So while it’s painful to see the Raiders leave, Oakland dodged a bullet with Vegas volunteering to subsidize the stadium. Still, it shouldn’t have reached this point. The NFL and the Raiders are more than capable to build a new stadium in Oakland. At a certain point, tradition and loyalty should take precedent over money.
Contact Andrew Slap at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.