The city practically invented the word “glitzy,” so why wouldn’t there be a mural of Elvis Presley in Allegiant Stadium, the shiny new home of the Las Vegas Raiders? And, naturally, Elvis is dressed in the hometown team’s colors, possibly because dogs playing poker have too many paws to wear an NFL jersey in a dignified fashion.
The Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium opens in NFL Week 2
Football fans got a gander at palatial SoFi Stadium on opening weekend as the Los Angeles Rams hosted the Dallas Cowboys in a nationally televised game. Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased the parcel of land while his franchise was still located in St. Louis. He meticulously planned the design and construction of the facility being shared with the Chargers. The cost approached $5.5 billion to become the most expensive stadium ever built.
NFL Week 2 brings us the unveiling of the league’s other new stadium. The Raiders constructed Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for just under $2 billion, of which about $750 million is from public funding. It has completed the 180-degree change in philosophy for a league that spent decades voicing concerns about potential ties between pro football and betting; Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the county.
The national audience will take its first extensive look at Allegiant Stadium, replete with tributes to everyone from Elvis Presley to Raiders great Ken Stabler, when the New Orleans Saints visit for a Monday Night Football clash with the Raiders on Sept. 21.
The recent words of Raiders principal owner Mark Davis are sure to be mentioned that night:
“Welcome to the Death Star, where our opponents’ dreams come to die.”Mark Davis
A new stadium could boost the Las Vegas Raiders’ fortunes on the field
The Las Vegas Raiders franchise has a rich history from before its days of bouncing between Oakland and Los Angeles. Al Davis founded the team as a member of the AFL in 1961. The Raiders lost the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers following the 1967 season, but it began a run of 15 playoff appearances in 19 seasons. That span includes three Super Bowl triumphs under coaches John Madden and Tom Flores.
There has been only one playoff appearance since the Raiders lost the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, but the franchise is banking on the allure of Sin City to help attract free agents and restore past glory. The stadium is a good place to start.
With a metro population of 2.2 million, the 65,000-seat stadium in the city brought to life by entertainment legends like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley is right-sized to accommodate locals and tourists. The Raiders are counting on the sale of 127 suites and 8,000 club seats to drive revenue eventually, even if the stadium must sit empty in NFL Week 2 due to the pandemic.
Allegiant Stadium has Elvis Presley and more local touches
Part of the allure of Allegiant Stadium figures to be the attention to detail in paying tribute to the history of Las Vegas, which introduced casino gambling in the early 1930s. The workforce required to build Hoover Dam and then the establishment of nearby Nellis Air Force Base around the time of World War II rapidly grew the business and residential base of the metro area.
The building captures that past as well as the history of the Las Vegas Raiders, which helps explain why Allegiant Stadium, which makes its debut in NFL Week 2, is located on the corner of Dean Martin Drive and Al Davis Way.
And, of course, there are the tributes to entertainers. The Rat Pack and Evel Knievel are prominent, but the two best murals might just be Elvis Presley in a Raiders uniform and Marilyn Monroe decked out as a cheerleader.
According to ESPN, the Raiders hired local artist Michael Godard to plan the interior artwork. One of the murals brings together past Raiders greats including Howie Long, Ken Stabler, Willie Brown, Ted Hendricks, Tom Flores, and Bo Jackson.