(KPIX 5) — Oakland Raiders fans, before you book the Venetian for the Raiders home opener in 2019 you might want to ask yourself this question: Will you support a lame duck football team in Oakland for the next two years?
If the NFL approves the Raiders relocation to Las Vegas the team is gone -this time for good – in a brand spankin’ new Vegas-like over-the-top stadium. If owner Mark Davis gets thumbs-up on the deal, the Raiders would play some preseason game at Sam Boyd Stadium but even if capacity is increased from 35,000 to 45,000, the Runnin’ Rebels crib isn’t up to NFL standards. You know, like the Oakland Coliseum.
So, will Raider Nation embrace a team that is going to spit in their face and leave for a second time? There is a portion of Raider fans that are part of the lunatic fringe, hanging onto a pipe dream that they will travel to Las Vegas to see their beloved football team play. I call it fantasy football.
Sounds great on paper, doesn’t it? Hell, you can get to Vegas quicker than you can get to Levi’s Stadium, right? (sad, but true) You can hang out in Sin City, win a few hands of blackjack and with the turn of a friendly card the MGM gladly picks up the tab for your entire trip! Roulette? Jim Otto has nothing on double-zero – just win, baby.
So who’s ready for a dose of reality? Put those dice down and listen up because you’re money ain’t for nothin’ and your chicks sure as hell aren’t free. Remember all those 49er fans that devoted their entire life to the San Francisco football team and, as their just reward, were asked to pay for Levi’s Stadium?
Raider fans will get hit with similar PSL fees. You better have $20K under your mattress just to reserve that club seat license. And that seat you pay $150 right now? Get ready to dish out $325. That cheap Vegas flight? Better double it because Southwest knows when you wanna getaway. And that steal-of-a-deal that you always get on the strip? They’ll be out of your Stratosphere.
Wake up, Raider Nation. How many of you actually flew weekly or bi-weekly to watch the Raiders in Los Angeles. How many of you can afford a $1,000 per game tab for Vegas?
As the Oakland Coliseum continues its inevitable, sad decay into oblivion, will you still sit there and cheer? Will you paint your face black and instill fear from any opposing player that dare enters the Black Hole? Because soon enough, the only black hole will be the one in your pocket-emptied of the cash, the emotion, the time you have given to a team that is shaking you down for the second time.
I’m told by pretty reliable people in high places in Las Vegas that the casino moguls, you know who they are, can press speed dial to some very influential NFL power brokers, and you know them, too. They are lining up the votes. And, ironically, the only card left in Libby’s hand is 42.
I don’t know if Ronnie Lott can get a plan or not. I don’t know if he has a backer or not. I don’t know if Eddie’s in or out. But you can bet your last dollar that the Vegas deal is not going to crap out. Don’t believe for a second that the Bay Area TV market is a deal breaker. The NFL was out of Los Angeles for two decades and the league thrived. Vegas will become the second lockdown Super Bowl location right behind New Orleans.
Like San Francisco, Oakland never thought the Raiders could leave. Oakland is 8.36 miles from San Francisco as the crow flies. It amazes me that they watched, up close, San Francisco lose its team and did nothing to save theirs. And it bears asking if Mark Davis did enough.
Said former Raider executive Amy Trask, “The team used tremendous resources in pursuing Carson and is now committed to pursuing Nevada. I believe if the team committed those resources to pursuing a deal on the existing site, a deal could be made.”
And now the Raiders want to play two lame duck years in the Coliseum? Raider Nation, you got to know when to fold ‘em.
See you on TV.