The Oakland Raiders captured headlines during the annual NFL owners meetings this week, as the long-awaited proposal to relocate the Raiders to Las Vegas was approved. By a vote of 31-1, the Raiders are now slated to join Las Vegas, in the next relocation in franchise history.
Although the decision was approved, owner Mark Davis came out and stated that the Raiders will play their 2017 and 2018 seasons at the Oakland Coliseum, as per their lease agreement. This presents an awkward situation for Oakland fans, who remain heartbroken over the decision and want to boycott, but don’t want to miss a final opportunity to witness the return to greatness.
The internal battle between Davis and Oakland Coliseum has continued on for years, with Davis eyeing alterations done to the Coliseum so that it could provide a better atmosphere for fans. The black hole had always been quite the advantage for the Raiders, but the economic condition of the Oakland Coliseum was not in great shape.
That leaves quite the decision for Davis and the Raiders in 2019, as the Las Vegas Stadium won’t be prepared until 2020. With the lease agreement up until 2018, it seems as though the Oakland Coliseum does not want the Raiders to return in 2019, per Brent Schrotenboer of USAToday.com:
“I would say to you with the highest level of confidence, my opinion and recommendation and that of my board members — I don’t believe there is any appetite for a third season (in Oakland),” Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority executive director Scott McKibben told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
The piece also went on to say that the Oakland Coliseum has actually been losing money during Raiders games, which may result in them not allowing the Raiders to return during that final transition year.
Davis and the organization stated that they’re open to the idea of playing the 2019 season at the Oakland Coliseum, should the fans and venue want them back. However, if they forgo that option, the Sam Boyd Stadium of UNLV is viewed as a secondary option. The Sam Boyd Stadium only has about 35,000 seats, a drastic drop compared to the 63,000 at the black hole.
Coliseum Executive Director Scott McKibben provided some insight into the financial situation regarding the situation and how they’re losing money. According to their report, the Oakland Coliseum earns about $7 million per year from the organization, including $3.5 million from their rent. However, they have about $8 million per year in expenses related to the franchise, including security, sanitation, ushers and field conversions between the Raiders and Oakland Athletics.
The ongoing turmoil between the Oakland Coliseum and Davis seems to headed in a negative direction, especially with the fans torn between the decision to come watch their beloved Raiders.