Las Vegas locals are ready to steal the Raiders, according to Fox Sports.
Forget all the questions about ownership, public funding, and stadium sites. When it comes to the Raiders possible relocation to Las Vegas, one question trumps all.
Will Las Vegas locals support an NFL team, and could Sin City turn into a stable pro sports market?
One poll commissioned by the Sands Corporation supported the idea. Meanwhile, a poll backed by the MGM showed overwhelming distaste.
Now, the Chamber of Commerce emailed an 83-question survey to 10,000 Vegas residents. Those results are not out yet.
Fox Sports dove into the subject by interviewing people in the immediate areas in a recent article. They talked to people who actually lived in Las Vegas and asked them if they would support the Raiders. These locals were interviewed at small bars and casinos
One bartending sports fan said working late won’t stop her from attending the newly acquired NHL expansion team games at the T-Mobile arena. However, she said football is another story.
“The NFL might be a harder sell, I think. It seems like a better game when you can sit at home on your comfy couch with your big TV and just kick back. Sundays are for rehabbing, right?” The bartender of “Dylan’s Food and Pub” said.
A local Broncos fan and Denver transplant said the NFL would make Las Vegas a bigger destination than it already is.
“Think about everything that’s in this city that goes on every night. Britney Spears practically lives at one of the casinos, and they find a way to sell tickets all the time. That’s not just locals.” This bar patron said.
A Summerlin patron of “Roadrunner Saloon” said Las Vegas is made for the NBA.
“We’d have the greatest homecourt advantage in the league. You know what I mean? Guys might fake injuries for a road Sunday matinee in Vegas. It’s L.A. or New York on steroids.” The regular customer said.
A poker player at “Ichabod’s” east of the strip said UFC already proved that Vegas works as a major sports city. However, locals need extra discounts. A pro sports team would have to figure out how to get locals in for cheap, according to this local.
Another local at “Ellis Island” off of the Strip, said parking is one of the biggest challenges for adding more sports teams..
“I don’t like sports, but I like other people enjoying themselves. They have to fix the parking, though. Have to.” The local said as she described a bad experience after attending an even at the T-Mobile arena.
Meanwhile, a bunch of enlisted military veterans would support the Raiders coming to Vegas.
“At the end of the day, you have this huge military community here that craves football. I know the idea is to put it near the Strip, but I guarantee you this: If the stadium were on the north side, we’d sell it out with military personnel every week.” A 21-year-old airman said at “The Cannery,” in North Vegas.
One more airman took it a step further. The airman said LA and Oakland Raiders fans would come to Vegas, as well as tourists.
“I don’t know why people think this is complicated. You put an NFL team here, and people would plan their entire weekend around coming to see a game, going to a show, and doing a little gambling.” This airman said.
In the end, more questions than answers remain about the Las Vegas marketing. Stadium funding, location, and pro team interest are still valid concerns. All of these things must get worked out before the Raiders can relocate.
One thing is becoming clearer. Las Vegas residents are ready for pro sports. They are also getting hyped for the NFL. That is if you believe the patrons from bars and casinos in the local area.
Either way, the coming months should tell us if Vegas residents will get their wish for an NFL team.
*All quotes via a recent article from Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch.