Raiders Players, Team Personnel Discuss Keys to Building Las Vegas Fanbase
Posted on: December 31, 2019, 01:00h.
Last updated on: December 30, 2019, 01:20h.
The Oakland Raiders capped off their storied history in California’s Bay Area Sunday with a one-point loss to the Denver Broncos to finish the year 7-9 and miss the NFL Playoffs for a third consecutive year.
The Raiders lost five of their last six, which included blowout defeats to the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and Tennessee Titans. After returning to Oakland in 1995, the franchise is once again skipping town following 25 seasons in which the team made the postseason just four times.
“Anytime there’s change, it’s exciting,” Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said following Sunday’s defeat. “Las Vegas is going to be awesome. The stadium looks awesome, but it does suck that we’re never going to play in Oakland again.”
Allegiant Stadium is close to being finished, the $2 billion, 65,000-seat dome located just west of the Las Vegas Strip and Interstate 15. The Raiders will become the US gambling capital’s second major professional sports team. The NHL Vegas Golden Knights began playing at T-Mobile Arena in 2017.
The Big Four – NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL – opposed allowing a franchise to call Las Vegas home for decades because of the city’s widespread sports betting. However, with the gambling activity now liberalized across the country, the leagues have reconsidered the town.
Establishing New Home
The excitement will be high when the Raiders kick off their 2020 season in Las Vegas. The NFL is said to be working on scheduling their first game in Allegiant as a primetime, nationally televised affair.
The Raiders will play the Dolphins, Saints, Buccaneers, Colts, Bills, Broncos, Chargers, and Chiefs at home, but in what order hasn’t been revealed.
We have talked … about the future and what that will look like,” quarterback Derek Carr told NBC Sports regarding the move. “We all agree that, when we go to Vegas, we have to win more.”
He continued, “It doesn’t really matter what stadium we play in.” Carr added that he believes it’s “time for some fresh air,” and is “looking forward to Las Vegas.”
Oakland had just four winning seasons over their last 25 years. The Raiders rank No. 29 of the 32 NFL teams in terms of average attendance this year. Each of the team’s seven home games averaged a crowd of 52,549. The Dallas Cowboys led the way with nearly 91,000.
There will be plenty of hype and media hysteria surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. But oddsmakers aren’t too confident that will translate into solid on-field play.
The Raiders were 100/1 to win Super Bowl 54, which implies a chance of 0.99 percent. When Super Bowl 55 odds are released in February after the big game crowns this season’s champion, Las Vegas will likely be around that same 100/1 line.
The only good thing to come from the Raiders losing their last three games is a better draft position. At 7-9, the Raiders will have the 12th pick in the NFL Draft, which will be held in Las Vegas April 23-25.