The Raiders have officially started the process of relocating their team and organization to Las Vegas. After years of being considered a market not worthy of a professional sports franchise, Las Vegas will now be home to the NHL and NFL. This is a game changer for what has always been considered the gambling capital of the world. The fears that the sports would be corrupted by gambling have been eased, especially with the growth of gaming nationwide. With statistics showing $95 billion being wagered on NFL and NCAA football during a season, 98% or $93 billion of that figure will be wagered through illegal channels, not Las Vegas casinos.
Las Vegas has transformed its identity as a community by focusing growth in major industries that do not revolve around the green felt and one armed bandit. We have witnessed businesses diversify in aerospace & defense, agriculture, information technology, energy, logistics & operations, manufacturing and mining. This has evolved the local workforce by creating new jobs and relocating key talent from other markets.
The Raiders will now follow suit and begin the transition to Southern Nevada. This will bring hundreds of staff and players, many of whom will immediately contribute to the local community, charities and high-end housing market. The Raiders are estimated to begin playing in Las Vegas by 2020 with their current lease in Oakland expiring after the 2018 season.
The proposed 65,000 seat, $1.9 billion stadium is slated to be completed for the 2020 season. With $750 million in public financing already approved by the State of Nevada, the NFL couldn’t discount that Nevada was fully invested in the team and the stadium. The remainder of the money is expected to come from a $650 million loan from Bank of America and, $200 million from the league and revenue from naming rights and other deals.
The location of games in between the Oakland lease expiration and the Las Vegas stadium being available is still up in the air. There are talks of playing through in Oakland, possibly in San Antonio or at UNLV’s current home, Sam Boyd Stadium..
As Las Vegas was hit hardest in the recession and was the face of National foreclosures and short-sales, experts are now feeling optimistic about Nevada’s economy with numbers nearing or at pre-recession figures. The Las Vegas Raiders is another giant step towards substantiating Las Vegas as a major city in the United States. Known as the transplant city, it is being said that a NFL football team is just the thing to unite locals both young and old.
The stadium is already being considered for a post 2022 Super Bowl and will be host to a wide range of non-football events during the offseason. Should crowds exceed the 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena capacity, the stadium will host soccer friendlies, college games, Rugby Sevens Series, MMA fights; and concerts and perhaps and NHL game at some point.
As residents of Las Vegas, we have the unique opportunity to be on the front row of an ever growing community and city. We can’t wait to see what’s next!