In a surprising turn of events on Thursday, the Oakland Raiders announced that they would be in Las Vegas on Friday to look at potential stadium sites, according to multiple sources.
The biggest question that will arise is whether the NFL would actually allow the Raiders to relocate to Sin City because Nevada has legalized gambling, and the league has been a staunch opponent of allowing a professional team to reside in a state that allows legal gambling.
Oakland had previously been rejected by the NFL to relocate with the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles, and there have been several rumors of the Raiders possibly relocating to San Diego (if Chargers relocate to L.A.), L.A. if the Chargers stay in San Diego and even San Antonio. Las Vegas has just recently been included with the possible destinations for Oakland to relocate to.
An NFL team is not the only professional franchise that Las Vegas is fighting for either. The city has been linked with an expansion NHL franchise as well, but again, most professional leagues do not want to put a professional team in Las Vegas because of gambling.
There was recently a purchase of 42 acres of land along Tropicana Avenue east of Koval Lane that was purchased for $50 million by Los Angeles-based Majestic Realty Co. and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
UNLV would like to build a stadium closer to campus and move out of the football team’s current home, Sam Boyd Stadium, and they would do so even if an NFL team does not call Las Vegas home.
The Las Vegas Sands would like to partner with other investors to build a $1 billion stadium that can seat at least 65,000 fans in hopes of drawing more tourists to Southern Nevada, per the Review Journal.
“There are any number of ways that land could be used,” UNLV President Len Jessup said. “It has good potential as a stadium site. But we’ve said all along that we’d look at any opportunity. If we can get a stadium built at little or no cost to the university, we’re interested in it,” according to the Review Journal.
There are many fans in the state of Nevada that would love to have a professional team to call their own, but the ball will be in the NFL — potentially the NHL’s — hands on making that dream a reality.
With an increase in legalized online gambling around the world, the time is now for professional leagues to end their age-old stance against teams in a legalized gambling area. After all, even in light of the claims that daily fantasy sports is gambling, companies like Draft Kings and Fanduel are still allowed to advertise with ESPN which airs Monday Night Football.