The Las Vegas Raiders are set to start their first season in Las Vegas in 2020. The team has previously called Oakland and Los Angeles home, with the move to Las Vegas being the third time the franchise has changed cities. The Raiders have had their most success in Oakland, but successfully created a strong fanbase during their time in Los Angeles as well.
From Oakland to Los Angeles
The Raiders started in Oakland in the AFL in 1960. They eventually joined the NFL through the 1970 merger of the two leagues. The team had success during their time in Oakland, winning Super Bowl XI and XV. This was largely in part to do owner Al Davis’s direction. In 1980, Davis unsuccessfully petitioned for improvements to be made to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. From there, Davis put in a request to the NFL for the Raiders relocation to Los Angeles. That request was denied by 22 owners with the remaining five abstaining from voting.
Despite that, Davis attempted to move the team to Los Angeles anyway. He had secured a stadium in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which had previously hosted the Los Angeles Rams. Davis and the Raiders were stopped by an injunction, but the Raiders and the L.A. Coliseum filed an anti-trust lawsuit, which was eventually won. By 1982, the Raiders were set up in their new L.A. home.
The Raiders found immediate success in L.A., making the playoffs their first four years and winning Super Bowl XVIII. The team would take a step back from there, only making the playoffs three times in their nine remaining years in the City of Angels.
From Los Angeles Back to Oakland
Despite leaving the Bay Area, Davis was not opposed to returning for another stint. According to an archived article by the New York Times, there was a deal in place to return the team to Oakland in 1990 that fell through, but things picked back up when in 1995 a Raiders return to Oakland was approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Davis had successfully negotiated additional seating and luxury boxes for the Oakland Coliseum and the Raiders kicked off their 23rd season in Oakland that same year.
The Raiders struggled to find success early in their return to Oakland. Things turned around once the team hired head coach Jon Gruden. Gruden was hired prior to the start of the 1998 season and led the team to an improved 8-8 record. The following two years under Gruden saw the Raiders make the playoffs, but their success with Gruden ended after an abrupt trade of the head coach prior to the 2002 season.
While the product on the field had improved, the stadium failed to do so. After the initial improvements Davis successfully negotiated had been made, the stadium failed to modernize. The Raiders agreement with the Oakland Coliseum ended in 2013 and the Raiders began looking for a new stadium. While there had been hopes of a new stadium in Oakland, the city failed to put a plan in place to secure the Raiders. Eventually, the team began looking at a possible relocation.
From Oakland to Las Vegas
Although there had been a few good years following Gruden’s trade, the Raiders mostly had down seasons. With no new stadium on the horizon and little holding them in Oakland, it was clear that new owner Mark Davis was keen on relocating once again. In 2014, the Raiders had been rumored to be considering San Antonio as a new home. That fell through, and in 2015 Los Angeles was the new destination on Davis’s mind. However, that fell through as well as the then St. Louis Rams won a bid to return to Los Angeles, shortly followed by the San Diego Chargers.
With Los Angeles and San Antonio out of the picture, the Raiders then honed in on Las Vegas. By 2017, the league had approved the Raiders move to the desert in Nevada. The Raiders new stadium, Allegiant Stadium, broke ground later that year. Meanwhile, the Raiders signed one-year deals with the Oakland Coliseum until their new home was ready. 2019 marked the Raiders final year in Oakland, as Allegiant Stadium was projected to be completed by the summer of 2020.
In January of 2020, things were made official after the Raiders held a ceremony at Allegiant Stadium to commemorate their relocation and their official name change to the Las Vegas Raiders.