The Raiders temporarily moved to Mexico, as part of the NFL’s “globalisation” plans, for their week 11 game against the Houston Texans. Guess nobody told the NFL about the anti-globalisation movement just yet. Anyway, the trip to Estadio Azteca went relatively smoothly; the American anthem wasn’t booed, free trade seemed to take place and no walls got built.
At 7-2 on the year, the Oakland Raiders were sitting pretty in second place in the AFC West with their eyes set on a first round bye and a home playoff game. By playing on Monday night it gave them a chance to see how their rivals were doing, and spirits were high after the division rivals Kansas City Chiefs lost narrowly and so dropping to 7-3.
The Raiders took their chance and beat the Houston Texans 27-20 in Mexico City, moving to 8-2 and romping to the top of their conference. Thanks, in part, once again, to Del Rio gambling on a 4th and short in the dying minutes of the game.
The Aztec Stadium is at 7,380 feet, which is about 2,000 feet above the Broncos Mile High venue. And the smog levels in Mexico City are described by everyone as horrendous. Thus we can calculate The Raiders are simply harder than their opponents when the going gets tough.
Just Win Baby!
The San Diego Chargers were linked with the Oakland Raiders in a proposed move to Los Angeles (see Are the Raiders Moving?). That proposed move was outvoted by the NFL membership in favour of The Rams moving back to LA and building a new stadium at Inglewood, leaving both The Raiders and The Chargers to look for new or improved homes elsewhere.
Both teams have been asking local authorities for funds to build new stadia, and have been looking at moves away. Most notably this entire site is dedicated to the Raiders proposed move to Vegas.
The Chargers hopes of a new, improved stadium in San Diego took a hit early in November 2016 when a ballot called ‘Measure C’, run by the Chargers and questioning 110,000 local inhabitants, failed to get a two-thirds majority. Indeed, it was defeated 57% to 43%.
This is important for the Raiders because the Chargers were given one year to exercise an option to join the Rams in Inglewood in 2019. If they do not exercise that option, it transfers to The Raiders.
The Raiders have sent out emails to at least a section of their fan base in an effort to determine demand for the new multi-purpose stadium in Las Vegas.
The wording goes “As a valued member of Raider Nation, you are invited, and encouraged, to participate in a survey regarding the potential stadium project. The survey is intended to help the Raiders understand your opinion and potential interest in the project. ”
If you have received such an email, we would strongly like to encourage you to take the survey. It will take about 10 minutes, doesn’t try to sell you anything, and everything you reply-to will be treated confidentially.
The start and end of the survey ask some general information like what sports you are interested in and who you support (Duh! as a member of Raider Nation!) And the end asks about how likely you are to attend games. But the majority of the survey is about possible seat locations, the pricing of those seats to watch the Vegas Raiders and how serious you might be about buying or investing in those seats. It seems the team are looking closely at PSLs or Personal Seat Licences.
The survey is being run by the BarrettSports Group LLC, but the emails are being sent out by nfl.com.
You can always rely on the much-loved NFL Commissioner to spoil a party. So it should not come as any surprise to those of us hoping for a Raiders move to Las Vegas that Roger Goodell poured cold water on the project.
Speaking at the NFL Fall meeting in Houston, he said the league had ‘miles’ to go’ before it would give the go-ahead for a franchise move to Vegas, and he wasn’t talking about the 410 miles separating the two locations. “There’s still a lot of information we need to gather,” Goodell said to reporters, “We need to study everything necessary for the long-term health of an NFL franchise. Like is there a fan base there? Is the stadium economics and fan experience at the level that we need? What is the impact on NFL policies?” He went on to refer to evaluation groups, surveys and a plethora of other stalling techniques beloved of grey-man committees up and down the land.
At least Goodell didn’t flatly rule out a move and even suggested The Membership vote might be more important than his own opinions.
Meanwhile, Mark Davis has been reassuring Nevada State Governor Brian Sandoval that he wasn’t using the possibility of a Vegas move as leverage for a better deal elsewhere. “If they come up with what we’re talking about, we’re gonna move to Las Vegas,” said Davis.
The raiders are now only a step away from moving to Las Vegas after the Nevada assembly officially approved $750million of public funding for a new stadium. This comes a few weeks after the Nevada oversight committee recommended the public spending in a unanimous vote, and the assembly approved the spending with a surprisingly one-sided vote of 28 in favour and only 13 against.
Still, the whole process can be stopped in its tracks by a governor veto, but that doesn’t look likely to happen as reports indicate there will be a public bill signing coming very soon. If this stage is passed there will be only one final hurdle to negotiate; the NFL owners vote. Of the 32 owners, 24 must vote in favour of the move. This does represent a very high percentage, but one that is not out of the question if some opinions to be believed.
The team could well still stay in California, but at present there is no concrete plan for a new stadium to be built in the area. With no commitment from Oakland to spend public money on a new stadium for the Raiders, its looking ever increasingly like the best move will be to jump ship and move to the city that never sleeps. A reminder sits in the memories of some tax payers in the bay area from the last time the stadium was renovated, as they are still paying off the $180million Coliseum rebuild from the 1990s. So why would they want to contribute more for more uncertainty in the team’s stadium in a few years time?
The destiny of the Raiders is still up in the air, despite all the positive steps regarding the proposed new stadium. All we know is the annual league owners meeting just became a huge focal point for the offseason.