Despite never having a professional team to call its own, Las Vegas and the sports world have always been intertwined. From sports betting, to boxing title fights, to the NBA Summer League, to the National Finals Rodeo, to NASCAR and the UNLV Rebels, ‘Sin City’ has always gotten a taste but not been able to finish their meal.
After years, perhaps decades, of waiting, Las Vegas is finally getting not one but two professional sports teams. The National Hockey League’s expansion to The Silver State has been confirmed since last summer and the Las Vegas Golden Knights will officially begin play in the 2017-2018 season. More recently, after months of rumors and just a few days after one NFL franchise relocated from San Diego to Los Angeles, another NFL team is on the move.
The Oakland Raiders filed Las Vegas relocation papers with the NFL earlier today, a move that was anticipated by industry insiders. This is the first formal step in a relocation process that won’t become official until the Raiders receive 24 votes from the NFL’s owners to formally make the move. That vote will come this spring and all signs point to the Raiders getting the green light in a few months.
This is exciting news for a city that has been built up and then left disappointed with expansion rumors from Major League Soccer, to Major League Baseball and even the National Basketball League over the last few years. But if you expect the Raiders to be moving east overnight, you might still be disappointed today.
The time-frame for relocation will likely see the Raiders play the next two years in Oakland, before moving to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season. That is when the proposed $1.9 billion domed stadium, pictured above and financed by Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, will officially open if the NFL approves the Raiders relocation plans.
After waiting the better part of the last few decades for a professional sports team, Las Vegas and future Raider fans can spare waiting a few more years before putting wearing black and silver on Sundays. Until then, ‘Sin City’ will be cheering on the Golden Knights.