Update: (3:20 pm) As predicted, the NFL owners voted 31-1 to approve the Raiders moving to sin city.
The Raiders received 31 of 32 votes to approve the move. Twenty-four votes were needed. The Miami Dolphins were the only team to vote against the move, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Raiders will still play in Oakland in 2017, and possibly longer.
Original article follows.
As everyone knows, Las Vegas is a very serious, no-nonsense kind of town where some 22,000 conventions choose to go every year to conduct important business, exchange stimulating ideas with colleagues and learn more about their fields.
So, naturally when the Oakland Raiders felt the need to move yet again, Vegas came to mind. Especially since Sin City has been angling for pro sports teams for more than a generation as evidence that it’s a major league, OK-normal place that just happens to do billions a year in gambling and booze and other activities, news of which should stay there.
The National Hockey League’s newest team, the Golden Knights, face off on Vegas ice in October. And the National Football League team formerly known as Oakland would like to kick off there come 2020 after a new $1.9 billion stadium is completed on 62 acres west of the Mandalay Bay Resort and I-15. They’d share the 65,000-seat, blessedly-domed facility with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels.
NFL owners may approve the move today or tomorrow at their Phoenix meeting. Or they may postpone it to May. Whenever, insiders say odds are good that the required 24 of 32 will approve.
What could go wrong with highly-disciplined, highly-paid professional NFL athletes in a manufactured city built on sand, partying and gambling? Prostitution is, after all, technically illegal in Clark County, although the state’s other 15 counties take a considerably different view of commercial sex.
There is a potential customer problem, however. Correct me if necessary, but do people really go to Las Vegas to do things they can just as easily do at home without airfare and extra-baggage fees? Sure, as long as their parole officer approves leaving California for a weekend, Raider Nation will bike in to buy seats. Casinos will no doubt lease suites to comp their heaviest hitters.
But given scores of competing big-name shows, stars and attractions available only there, how many of the city’s 43 million tourists last year would take in an NFL contest so they can go home and whisper to friends that they went all the way to Vegas Baby and saw an NFL game that was on national TV?
About 604,000 people live in Las Vegas, which means “meadows” in Spanish, of which there are none in sandy sight. To be sure, that’s 50% more potential local ticket-buyers than inhabit Oakland. But if every single soul in Nevada became a Raiders fan, including Harry “I’m Retired Now” Reid, that still wouldn’t equal half the Bay Area population the Raiders already draw from.
The supply of showgirls trying out for Las Vegas cheerleader would no doubt be fulsome. But would Raider cheerleaders actually have to wear clothing in that day job? And how will the ladies do all that tumbling and jumping in spike heels and those six-foot, feathered headdresses?