The Raiders’ impending move to Las Vegas has garnered much comment from the NFL community. Some people are livid, others excited, others apathetic. As a former resident of Las Vegas, I have high hopes for the team’s presence in the city and wanted to share my positive outlook on the move. I know that this isn’t easy for Oakland to stomach, the Raiders are a staple of the community there. But as a long time Seattle resident as well, I feel your pain. (May you rest in peace, Supersonics.)
- Locals DO Exist and They Like Sports
Las Vegas is an enormous melting pot. Locals come from tons of states, countries, backgrounds and sports loyalties. With the exception of the brand new Golden Knights hockey team, there hasn’t been a team that garners the kind of widespread and die-hard support that an NFL team tends to. They’ve had UNLV college teams, the ECHL Wranglers hockey team and the Las Vegas 51’s baseball farm team.
NFL teams have a way of bringing a city together more successfully than other sports or other leagues can do, even if they’re not top performers. The ritual and theatrics around professional football are pretty much unbeatable. The community involvement, easy access to televised games, and the immense publicity that the sport gets has a tendency to win fans over by making every game a great experience, win or lose. If you can bring our giant band of weirdos together, we’ll take it.
- More Draw for Tourists
Las Vegas is obviously a huge tourist town. The weather is great, the food is great, and the city is designed to entertain. I’m a huge proponent for having something to do in this town other than booze, gambling and strip clubs. There are plenty of people that sit in a sports book and watch football all day on Sunday, but now there’s an option for those of us who prefer to be in a stadium watching.
Vegas is an easy flight from anywhere in the US. It’s a quick drive from Utah, where there are a bunch of fans with no local team. Hopefully we can win them over from the Broncos.
- Economic Benefits
There’s something about having a professional sports team that inevitably improves your economy. Vegas can always use that. The economy largely runs off of the hospitality industry. It’s not known for its educational opportunities, there aren’t really any high rise buildings packed with 9-5 employees in suits, and it’s just not really taken seriously in many ways.
Real estate prices have already been on the rise since the announcement of the NHL team and now the NFL team coming to town. People are excited about it, and having a team to root for is reframing Vegas as a decent place to live. With an influx of people moving to town or just more visitors during the football season, it opens up opportunities for everyone. Whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to jump into selling ecigs and vape juices or an established business owner wanting to move your operations to somewhere warmer, Vegas is an inviting place to make that happen.
Introducing a major league sports team infuses the community with at least 53 well-to-do athletes that want the best for themselves and their families, not to mention the slough of support staff who expect the same. The bottom line is that there’s a huge influx of really rich people moving to Vegas permanently, which doesn’t ever happen. There’s going to be an improvement with that kind of money coming in.
- Actual JOBS
So far, the construction of the new stadium has guaranteed some utilization of local small businesses. Add to that the need for support staff for the team itself, the venues, and replacing anyone who chooses not to move from Oakland to keep their job with the franchise. Then you’ve also got the jobs that come from these new residents needing service providers, nannies, real estate agents, etc.
While general economic improvement is a fun term to throw around, bringing in actual jobs for the people that live in the city is a very valuable benefit to any large entity coming to town.