Raiders' Move Justified, Oakland's Victimhood Not

posted by Tank Spencer - 

You may not like the Oakland Raiders'approved move to Las Vegas, but the logic of the move is undeniable. Las Vegas provides an infinitely larger marketability to an already phenomenal brand. The Raiders' brand is one of the most popular in sports. The Silver and Black. The Black Hole. The Bad Boys of The NFL. The Raiders, like 'em or hate 'em, winning or losing, have always been the epitome of "cool." 


The Raiders brand was helped early on by the blue-collar, passionate fan base, but one can argue that the nationwide/worldwide appeal of the team was also hindered by the city itself. Oakland fans are some of the most rabid in the NFL, but when the team came calling, the city's leaders said “no”... a lot. It's been no secret Oakland is the #1 pro sports market in need of upgraded facilities. For years that team has shared a falling apart, out-of-date, inconvenient venue with the Oakland A's. 


City leaders must decide what their constituents care about more: lower taxes, better infrastructure, or keeping a sports franchise. I applaud them for NOT choosing the latter. In our daily lives, sports is so insignificant. That is especially so, when considering all of the things local government is supposed to be providing like police and fire protection, road improvements, and sanitation services. However once you make that stand, and choose fiscal responsibility over pleasure, you can't then be sore when that business takes a better offer elsewhere. 


Oakland City Council President Larry Reid told the San Francisco Gate that he is looking for any opportunity to sue the team, and – as Chair of the Coliseum Authority – he wants the Raiders out now. The move is not expected until 2020, meanwhile the team has the right to continue to lease O.co for two more years. Reid told the paper,“If in fact the Raiders do continue to play at the Coliseum, I hope they play to a crowd of maybe two or three people or no people at all.” It kind of reminds you of a toddler who didn't get his/her way, or an“ex” who just can't believe you left after years of you neglecting their needs. 


Moving to Las Vegas opens the Raiders to a whole new world of revenue they never could have attracted being in Oakland. While the Bay Area has its own attractions, Las Vegas is one of the most visited destinations in the world. Couple that with the bending-over-backwards of Vegas leaders and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to land a legendary NFL franchise, and it's a no-brainer. 


Las Vegas has a plan to pay $750 million dollars toward a $1.9 billion stadium, using revenue from a new hotel occupancy tax. That mostly lifts the burden from local taxpayers, unless they choose to stay in a hotel near home. Adelson is kicking in $650 million. It's a sweet deal for Raiders owner Mark Davis. His team pays only $500 million, $200 million of which is on loan from the league, for a brand new,state-of-the-art, 65,000-seat, domed stadium that is all theirs. 


Oakland could never match that offer. It couldn't even come close to that offer. If you don't want to play the extortion game that is corporate business in the 21 st century, great. But, you can't play the victim when that business takes a sweetheart deal and leaves you empty-handed. Oakland, you had your chance. Your chose your priorities (correctly, IMHO). You can't expect smart businessmen to make a dumb business move. 

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