In 2018, the Raiders had a rough season. In 2019, the squad that stars in HBO’s Hard Knocks is essentially a team in limbo. Since the NFL approved a move to Las Vegas a little over two years ago, the team has been preparing to head to Sin City. But are the Raiders playing in Las Vegas this year?
The Raiders’ relocation history
The team’s relocation is not its first time pulling up stakes. They’ve had a few big moves during the franchise history. Check out this timeline:
- 1982: After playing in Oakland from 1966-81, the Raiders moved to Los Angeles.
- 1995: The Raiders relocated back to Oakland after the Oakland Coliseum is renovated.
- 2014: Al Davis’s son Mark, who inherited the team after his father’s passing, confirmed he spoke to San Antonio officials about a possible move.
- 2015: Both the Raiders and (then) San Diego Chargers declared a move to LA suburb, Carson, to build a complex that will house both teams.
- 2016: After the Carson stadium plan falls through, the Raiders, Chargers, and (then) St. Louis Rams filed paperwork to move to LA. While the Raiders and Chargers ended up going through with the LA move, plans for the Raiders never materialized.
- 2017: The Raiders receive approval to move to Las Vegas.
The decision to move to Las Vegas
The decision was not particularly surprising, as Vegas added an NHL and WNBA franchise in recent years. The move was controversial though, as the city of Oakland attempted to sue the franchise to get them to stay.
The move was the brainchild of Mark. After being shut out of a Los Angeles move, he enlisted the help of casino-owning billionaire and political power broker Sheldon Adelson as well as Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones to make the move happen.
And happen it did. NFL owners approved the move by a vote of 31-1. Now the Raiders will embark on a journey to a city that has yet to house an NFL football team. But when exactly will they start playing in Las Vegas?
Are the Raiders playing in Las Vegas this year?
The Raiders will not play in Las Vegas this year. After some drama over where they’d play home games in 2019, the Raiders settled on returning for one final campaign at the Oakland Coliseum. The team extended its lease this offseason, but it remains to be seen whether the team can draw Oakland fans as they embark on a “lame duck” season in the Bay Area.
However, there is some good news for Vegas fans of the Raiders. According to a Pro Football Talk report via the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Raiders’ stadium is over halfway done. With $944.7 million spent already — a little over half the stadium budget — the Raiders plan to add $40 million to the funds to add more suites and amenities. Where is the money coming from? The report stated that fans will pay for additional personal seat licenses.
The stadium is scheduled to open on July 31, 2020. In 2019, they will continue the rebuilding phase they started with coach Jon Gruden. In the offseason, they signed former NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock as GM and traded for former Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown. It’s safe to say the Raiders will have more eyes on them than ever as they head to Vegas.