By Evan Weiner |
In the, “of course, this could happen” department, the Mark Davis owned soon to be Las Vegas Raiders National Football League franchise might not have a home field in 2019.
Davis’s Oakland lease ends following the last Raiders home game, regular season or playoffs, in December and if there is a playoff run in January. At some point, the lame duck status was going to kick in.
A sports team generally just picks up and leaves. There is no long goodbye because there is a risk that the team would not be able to sell luxury boxes, club seats and regular tickets. There is always the threat that local marketing partners won’t stick around.
Remarkably, the Davis Raiders drew on average nearly 58,000 people per game in 2017. It was the 30th best in the NFL but considering that Davis no longer was interested in doing business in Oakland past 2019, the number was incredible.
Davis may not be welcomed back in Oakland in 2019. The Las Vegas stadium, which will be the most government subsidized sports venue in United States history with at least three quarters of a billion dollars in taxpayers’ money going into the building, won’t be done until 2020.
What might Davis’s options be if not Oakland? Santa Clara? A Las Vegas college stadium? There are vacant NFL stadiums in St. Louis and San Diego after Rams and Chargers ownership fled those cities for the Los Angeles area in 2017.
Rams ownership is building a facility in Inglewood that will house the two NFL teams. Davis, according to a report, was looking into playing in San Diego. But San Diego may knock down the old stadium depending on what happens on Election Day in November as the stadium area could be redeveloped if voters approve plans for the area. Davis is in a bind.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.