The Raider Nation is one of the most passionate, die-hard fan-bases in the NFL. You are born a Raider and you die a Raider through thick or thin. And Raider Nation is truly a nation, with fans across the entire country and world who bleed Silver and Black and who sport Al’s motto is Just Win Baby.
By spending championship years in LA and with a ride or die fan base in the Bay Area, the Raiders have always been a destination franchise. With the move to Las Vegas , the advantages continue on and off the field.
Here are some of these advantages the Raiders will benefit from with their move to Las Vegas in 2020.
Any talk of competitive advantages for the team in Black and Silver has to start with the greatest fans in the world, Raider Nation. The passion is literally on display every week with the Black Hole, elaborate costumes, and family gathering with one of the best tailgates in the NFL.
Walking around any city in the country, you will see fans sporting their Raiders Black and Silver. On Facebook or Twitter, you will find every fan has their profile picture in their colors. Raider Nation does not just come out during the NFL season, they are proud 24/7, 365.
Players want to be part of a team that supports them and will always show up. This will help recruit free agents (see Antonio Brown as the most recent example) and helps on the field with a loud, crazy environment on gameday.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Raider Nation on the financial aspects of the game also. As the team moves to their new home in Vegas, the full financial power of Raider Nation will continue to allow the team to have the resources to pay top free agents and continue the culture where players want to play for the Silver and Black.
Las Vegas Raiders Fan Gameday Opportunities
Vegas is going to open new and exciting opportunities for the Raiders franchise and it’s fans. Because of the unique global appeal of the Raiders, Las Vegas will provide an easy destination for Raiders fans from across the country to be part of the festivities.
There is no place in the world as uniquely designed for people from around the world to drop in for a gameday weekend. The long weekend trip is basically what Vegas is known for. There are 151K rooms available in the Las Vegas area, which is nearly double that of New York City . And with the new stadium at the end of the strip, the vast majority of those rooms are within 3 miles of the stadium.
This gives Raider Nation the opportunity to continue to expand the nation and allow more fans the opportunity to see the team in person and/or be part of the gameday experiences that will be all over the strip. And the location of Vegas is easily accessible from Oakland (1 hour flight) or LA (4 hour drive).
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that these advantages for Raider Nation come with some real disadvantages for the amazing, loyal fans in the Bay Area. We understand the pain, but this is a new reality and we are focused on the future here at The Dent.
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Las Vegas as a Free Agency Destination
For all the benefits for Raider Nation at large, the biggest winners might be Mike Mayock, Jon Gruden, and Mark Davis who get to use Vegas as a recruiting tool for luring Free Agents, keeping their own players, and contract negotiations for players, coaches, scouts, and more.
While competition for championships and culture is important, all things equal, players want to live in cool cities. Vegas is one of the most unique places on earth and players will be drawn to the bright lights.
I think Las Vegas was one of the draws for Antonio Brown (it surely wasn’t the 4-12 season last year) and has the Raiders at the top of the list for other free agents like Le’Veon Bell and others. Vegas may not be the reason, but it can be a huge factor in including them as a potential destination and being the deciding factor.
Just ask Antonio Brown, if you have to choose between Buffalo or Las Vegas, it’s an easy choice. Lots of other players will feel the same way. For top free agents, that may mean you still pay them top rates, but you have a chance to sign them. For middle tier and fringe players, that may mean taking a slightly lower contract or better terms in a place they want to play over other teams.
Consistently winning will help, but Vegas is a good attraction to help the Raider retool rather than spending years in an all out rebuild.
Las Vegas Taxes
One other way that Las Vegas could help lure potential free agents? No personal income tax! Oakland would have a 9.3% tax, so players will be getting a raise for the move. For Antonio Brown, that’s an income tax savings of $6,138,000 over his lifetime versus the same contract in Oakland.
If you don’t think players know this, your crazy. And if they don’t, their agents most definitely do. The tax consequence is already obvious in the structure of Trent Brown’s contract. He’s taking $5.5M in 2019 and $21,250,000 in 2020 when the Raiders move to Vegas, saving nearly $1M a year.
Las Vegas as a Home Field Advantage
If you’ve ever spent a weekend in Vegas, you know that the casino floor can be alluring. I can’t tell you how many times I looked down at my watch during a heater and realized it was suddenly 4 AM. My last trip, I almost missed my 8 AM flight home because I was still at the Blackjack table at 6:30 AM.
If you get 53 players coming to Vegas (many for the first time), there will be at least a handful that get caught up in the Vegas magic and are less than fresh for a 1 PM local game. The over/under on players from the visiting teams making an appearance on TMZ Sports every week is a prop bet that one of the casinos needs to start taking.
Even if you take away all the distractions of the casinos, Vegas will also be a prime destination for players families, friends, high school teammates, college coaches, etc. to meet up, similar to when a player goes back to their hometown city for a road game. But this could be most of the roster every week.
Now Vegas does have many of the same temptations for the home team, but coming for one week is very different than being in Vegas all the time. There could be some minefields for Raiders players also, but hopefully the team has rules in place that will minimize these problems.
Las Vegas as a Revenue Opportunity
If Mark Davis is to be believe, the move to Vegas from Oakland had nothing to do with fan support and everything to do with the competitive landscape (i.e. revenue potential). A brand new, state-of-the-art stadium with high-demand PSLs and ultra expensive suites will help ensure the Raiders earn significantly more. This, in turn, should give more options to build a winner on the field.
This isn’t always the case, but financial success means there’s more money to spend on coaches, front-office talent, free agents, and the
In addition, revenue opportunities mean fans will have more ways to interact with the team. Vegas offers sponsorship and partnerships with casinos and businesses that could be leveraged into cool, interactive fan experiences. There will be ample opportunities for a deeply customized fan experience and will be up to the Raiders sponsorship and partnership teams to capture them.
The Potential Losers: The Common Fan
While we believe that the move to Vegas has a lot to love, there are definitely some losers in the deal. First, season ticket holders and passionate fans in the Bay Area who lose access to the team. While many season tickets holders will make the move to Vegas with the team, a vast number of loyal fans will not have the opportunity. This is the dark side of the move and we feel for all the fans impacted.
Vegas is expensive and while flights and hotels may be plentiful, it will not be cheap. And Vegas is the king of flexible pricing, so if Vegas pulls in fans from all over the country on gamedays, the prices and availability at hotels will reflect that. Prices for season tickets already include high PSL fees and the cost of food in the stadium will be expensive. With reduced tailgating opportunities, the cost for attendance will continue to rise.
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