Las Vegas is lining up its case to the NFL, as the league reaches a critical point for determining whether the market is suitable for the Oakland Raiders.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has set his sights on a move to Las Vegas for much of this, year an effort that intensified after the State of Nevada approved $750 million in public funding for a stadium this fall. The formal relocation announcement is unlikely to take place until early next year, but the Raiders and the NFL have been considering the market over the last few months.
Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, NFL owners are reviewing three market studies–two have been commissioned by the Raiders, and the other by the league. The studies should add some clarity to the issue of whether Las Vegas is a viable NFL market.
Among the NFL ownership ranks, there already seems to be support for a team in Las Vegas, and some owners expressed optimism about the proposal before public funds for the stadium were secured. Still, there have been some questions about whether Las Vegas is a better market than Oakland, both now and over the long haul.
However, recent comments from commissioner Roger Goodell indicate some in Las Vegas believing that the move could happen. Additionally, some believe that Las Vegas’ ability to attract fans from other areas will exceed other markets in the league. More from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis, the Las Vegas-based firm that provided statistical support to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee as it prepared a report to Gov. Brian Sandoval on why it made economic sense to commit $750 million in public funding to build a stadium, said it’s easy to understand why the city’s attributes don’t stand out.
“From a statistical standpoint, Las Vegas has a tendency to be wildly misunderstood,” Aguero said, “because there’s no place like it.”
He said traditional market studies aren’t going to show factors that only locals seems to understand.
A UNLV marketing professor says it would be shortsighted for the team not to look beyond Las Vegas for ticket sales.
“The Raiders situation is unique because they figure on getting Raiders fans who followed the team in Los Angeles that can drive to the game and they might also get fans from Oakland who are willing to travel for games,” said associate professor Jim Cross. “It’s not like you’re putting a team in St. Louis where you’re not going to have people coming in from out of town.”
Another positive for Las Vegas could be the situation in Oakland. While Oakland and Alameda County officials have come forth with a proposal for a new stadium to keep the Raiders, the plan–which calls for public investment in infrastructure upgrades, and stadium contributions from investors, the NFL, and the Raiders–does not seem to be forcing the Raiders or the NFL to take another look at at the city.
Ultimately, nine league owners would have to vote against the move to prevent it from taking place. Nothing is assured at this point, but Las Vegas could find itself in a position to wrap up its effort to attract the Raiders early next year.
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