Saturday, January 14, 2017

NHL broke the ice in Vegas... here comes the NFL?

So yes, this is a hockey blog, but this writer loves her football as much as her hockey, so here is some interesting news involving the city that is soon to be home to the NHL's newest franchise...

According to Fox Sports, the National Football League's Oakland Raiders are filing for approval to move to Las Vegas! It sounds like there are a couple of different investors ready to shell out the cash to fund a stadium in Las Vegas if a move is approved. They have shared a stadium for years with the Oakland Athletics (of Major League Baseball) and want to be able to call a football only facility their home, but so far this has not come to fruition in Oakland.

Oakland's owners will need at least 24 of the 32 current NFL franchise owners to vote to approve the move, but the vote probably won't happen sooner than the next owners meeting in a couple months.

It is interesting to note that this franchise has already made 2 moves in its 57-year history, from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982, and then back to Oakland in 1995. There had been recent talk of moving to L.A. for a second time, but the San Diego Chargers announced earlier this week that their franchise plans to relocate to L.A., so Las Vegas is now the top Raiders destination.

As a sports fan, I am having some mixed feelings about this news... It is exciting to think that Las Vegas could quickly become the home to a second professional sports franchise to give tourists yet another reason to book a trip to Sin City and support the local economy.

I also understand that the Raiders organization wants a better physical setting for its players and fans, and a new stadium is at the top of their priority list to accomplish that. They would not be the first franchise in any sport who packed their bags and hit the road to make that happen and it's difficult to say they should stay put when the standard in many other cities has been to build sparkling new facilities for their professional sports teams.

But I keep thinking of the loyal Raiders fans who have already endured two moves of their beloved team along with keeping the faith through countless mediocre seasons (the Raiders made it to the playoffs last year for the first time since 2002). If the deal is approved, the Raiders would still play in Oakland until facilities in Las Vegas are complete, but will the fans stick with them knowing they are leaving?

No matter what happens, it will be interesting to see how this plays out, both in Oakland and in Las Vegas!

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