Moving one of the NFL’s most storied franchise’s to Vegas is not as easy as many Raiders fans might hope. Even though Mark Davis has pledged $500million to help build a new domed stadium in Las Vegas, with backing from other owners, there are still plenty of potential problems with the move.
The biggest reason the Mark Davis wants to move the team is the state of the team’s current stadium. The Raiders currently share a stadium with the Oakland Athletics, a major league baseball team. For those of you that have tuned in to various Raiders home games you will have noticed the random streaks of mud/dust across the field that is used for baseball games. It looks atrocious and just seems dangerous for the players. Not to mention the stadium first opened in 1966 and is horrendously outdated.
In the past week it has become apparent that an Investment group is trying to build a new stadium for the Raiders in the Oakland area, and is being led by ex-Los Angeles Raider cornerback Ronnie Lott. This group has recently got the backing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who once again seems to be going against the owners and trying to make the league more and more his own little creation. Surely if the owner of a team wants to go he should be allowed to?
More importantly, other owners have backed the move. Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots and arguably the most respected owner in the league, has openly admitted that he supports the move. Kraft outlined that any of the risks associated with Las Vegas 10-15 years ago are no longer risks, paving a way for a potential move. Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, also endorsed the move in a way, saying it has no disfavour with him after outlining the potential entertainment value of a team in Las Vegas.
Some sports journalists have expressed fears over the implications of the Raider’s players being exposed to legalized gambling if they move to Las Vegas. Commentators have warned that the Nevada city’s casinos offer a huge distraction for players who should be concentrating on their game and some have even suggested a link between excessive wagering and the potential for corruption.
Discussing the move on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Tom Curran of CSN New England questioned whether the NFL should be worried about some of its players residing amongst the temptations of Sin City when not practicing or taking part in games.
Concerns have been raised that living in Vegas might not just be damaging for Raiders players’ wallets; suggestions have been made that those who lose large amounts of cash on the slots and tables of some of the world’s biggest casinos could find themselves tempted to supply gamblers with confidential information, such as details of performances or injuries, in return for payment. The doomsday scenario is that this could quickly degenerate into match fixing or point shaving, but commentators have also noted that the distraction that casinos might provide could end up having a similarly damaging effect on a player’s form.
NFL players and staff across the country are currently allowed to take part in gambling at race tracks and in legitimate casinos during their spare time, in accordance with the league’s guidelines, but some in the industry are urging a change to be made if the current Oakland team is to become the Las Vegas Raiders.