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If there was ever any question whether or not Las Vegas would have the fans to support the new NFL team coming to town, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles answered that question recently with the announcement of the Raiders team-themed license plate sales. And it’s already making a difference in the community.

Moving from Oakland to Las Vegas

It was well known in NFL circles that the Oakland Raiders ownership group wanted to move the team out of town for years. Since 2011, the Raiders actively explored a variety of new home options including San Francisco (a shared stadium with the 49ers), San Antonio, Concord, Calif., and Los Angeles.

Oakland Raiders fans.
Oakland Raiders fans. | Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Through it all and to their credit, Oakland Raiders fans stuck with the team regularly showing up to games despite those consistent rumors of the team leaving and despite an organization that annually put out a lackluster product (one winning season since 2003).

In March 2017, all the talk and rumors came to an end. After years of discussions and negotiations, Raiders fans’ worst fears were confirmed when NFL owners approved the move to Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Raiders were officially born. 

Las Vegas Raiders fans show support and help charity

Since that announcement in 2017, the buzz around the team coming to Las Vegas has slowly but steadily increased. While it’s challenging to fully understand to what extent Nevadans are supporting their team since there are no games to attend and no crowds to measure, a new Nevada license plate program provides a glimpse of the club’s growing fan base.

In 2019, a team-themed Nevada specialty license plate saw 11,616 active registrations, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. As of Jan. 27, the number had increased to 12,133 plates.

Those thousands of plates are not only showing support for the new team in town. They’re also making a difference in the community by supporting the team’s charitable organization, the Raiders Foundation, which offers community-based programs in military support and youth development.

With a fee of $92 per plate, $62 of it goes to the state of Nevada while the remaining $30 goes to the foundation. The Raiders receive no profit from the plates. To date, the plate registration fee has generated more than $355,000 for the foundation.

Vegas Golden Knights and a foundation for success

Since their arrival in 2017 as the first major professional sports team in Las Vegas, the Vegas Golden Knights have created a winning template the Raiders can follow both on and off the field/rink. 

On the ice, the Golden Knights made a stellar run advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season eventually losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.  

Off the ice, the organization launched a similar team-themed specialty plate program in 2018 that has capitalized on the team’s success and popularity. The Knights specialty plate had reached more than 43,000 register activations through Jan. 31, according to the team.

If early sales of Raiders license plates are any indication, they’ll have fans at the game. Now the question is will those fans have a product that resembles the quality of the Golden Knights or the old Raiders?

Time will tell.