The Raiders will be staying in Oakland for at least 2017, but they will one day be playing in Las Vegas.
Today at the NFL’s annual owners meeting, the Raiders received 31 of 32 votes from NFL owners to approve the relocation to Las Vegas. Only 24 voters were required to send the Raiders to Southern Nevada, with the Miami Dolphins being the only team to not approve the move.
In Las Vegas, the Raiders have a proposed stadium that will be shared with the UNLV Rebels that is expected to sit 65,000 people. The stadium, which is expected to cost $1.9 billion when it’s finished, is not expected to open until 2020.
Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN that he plans to play at least two more seasons in Oakland, and is open to playing the 2019 season in Oakland if Oakland wants him to end their lease with the Oakland Alameda Coliseum.
Davis also revealed to ESPN his mixed feelings about the movement from Oakland to Las Vegas:
“I have mixed feelings; it’s very bittersweet,” Davis said on Monday. “I understand [Oakland fans] will be angry and disappointed. I want them to know that I do understand that it’s emotional. Raider Nation is the greatest fan base in the world and we’re going to build something to make them proud.
“But I also want them to give as much support to the team as possible as we attempt to bring a championship to the Bay Area.”
“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. 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.”
The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights reached out to the Raiders to expressed their congratulations for getting the move approved. The Golden Knights are the NHL’s new expansion team that is set to enter the league at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
The Golden Knights will play their games at the T-Mobile Arena, which costed an estimated $375 million. The Raiders themselves have already committed $500 million to the previously noted $1.9 billion project. Another $750 million will be coming from public funding. Bank of America is also helping with the funding, as the Raiders told the NFL.
Just like with Davis, their are mixed reactions from Raiders personnel about the move. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says he feels for the fans in Oakland, but he is also very excited at the same time for all of the new fans that Las Vegas will bring to the franchise.
Las Vegas will be the 5th smallest market in the NFL, per the NFL’s executive vice president Eric Grubman. Vegas will still be a bigger market than Jacksonville, New Orleans, Buffalo, and Green Bay.
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