We end 2017 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #2: The Oakland Raiders receive approval for their eventual relocation to Las Vegas.
Throughout much of 2017, the Oakland Raiders have been plotting their future as the Las Vegas Raiders. With their new stadium making progress toward its eventual completion and the NFL signing off on a relocation request, 2017 was full of major strides for the Raiders and their upcoming relocation.
The Raiders spent much of 2016 lobbying for a new stadium in Las Vegas. While Nevada lawmakers did approve a $750 million public contribution to the stadium before the year closed, it was 2017 that produced some of the most tangible moves toward a new Las Vegas stadium.
In March, NFL owners approved by a 31-1 margin the Raiders’ request to relocate to Las Vegas, with Stephen Ross of the Miami Dolphins casting the lone vote of dissent. At a separate vote several months later, the league approved the terms of the lease between the Raiders and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.
One of the most attention-worthy developments, however, was the groundbreaking ceremony for the new stadium that the Raiders held in the fall. That, along with several other initiatives, have helped the Raiders strengthen their presence in Las Vegas as they play out their final seasons in Oakland.
The Raiders are not expected to move to Las Vegas until 2020, with the new stadium being completed months before that NFL season begins. Heading into the new year, the Raiders still have some major tasks to complete—including the completion of a development agreement, as well as coming to terms with UNLV on a joint-use agreement. The latter agreement will outline the terms that allow UNLV football to use the new stadium.
Even for a franchise that is no stranger to relocations, the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas is significant on a few fronts. For the Raiders, it provides a certain future beyond Oakland and the aging Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Las Vegas, meanwhile, can add the Raiders’ pending arrival to its professional sports boom that includes this year’s debut of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, a professional soccer club in the USL that will debut in 2018, the newly arrived Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA, and a new ballpark for baseball’s Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) that is slated for a 2019 opening in nearby Summerlin.
Kickoff in Las Vegas is still over two years away, leaving the Raiders and local officials with plenty of work to do before the new stadium opens. However, the last year has seen been marked by significant progress that signals the Raiders’ inevitable arrival to Las Vegas.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List:
#3: Notre Dame Stadium Renovations
#4: SDSU Launches its New Stadium Pitch
#5: New Los Angeles Stadium Opening Delayed
#6: NFL Stadium Renovations
#7: Colorado State Stadium Opens
#8: The Los Angeles Chargers
#9: The Opening of Daily’s Place
#10: The Georgia Dome Closes