Why Did the Raiders Leave Oakland and Move to Las Vegas?

Over the past two seasons, you have probably noticed something a little different about the Raiders: They’re located in Las Vegas instead of Oakland. After playing in the Bay Area for decades, the franchise relocated to its new town in 2020.

So, why are the Raiders in Vegas now instead of Oakland? Here’s a look at how they got to Sin City.

The Raiders had two separate stints in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas

The Raiders got their start in Oakland back in 1960 when they were in the AFL, and they then continued playing in the city once the AFL merged with the NFL several years later.

In 1982, though, the team moved to Los Angeles.

While in LA, the Raiders had a decent amount of success, but they only stayed there for a little over a decade. According to CBS Sports, 13 seasons after moving to Los Angeles, the franchise relocated back to its roots in Oakland. Team owner Al Davis chose to do so after renovations for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum fell through.

The team then stayed in Oakland for almost two-and-a-half decades. But in 2020, it moved once again, as Las Vegas is now its new home.

So, why is that the case?

Why did the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas?

The Raiders during their first season in Las Vegas after moving from Oakland in 2020.
Quarterback Derek Carr (center) of the Las Vegas Raiders runs onto the field before a game against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 21, 2020. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

According to Sporting News, the most recent relocation for the Raiders had everything to do with the team’s home stadium again.

The franchise first tried to go back to LA when it applied to relocate there in 2016, but the move didn’t work out. Around that same time, though, the NFL found that the Raiders’ stadium, Oakland Coliseum, was “not adequate for NFL football, and must be replaced,” according to a statement from the league in 2017, per Sporting News.

While the NFL initially gave Oakland time to address the issue, it then rejected the city’s proposal, which played a role in Las Vegas swooping in to get the team. Vegas offered $750 million in public funds to go toward building a new stadium, and it seems that factor played a major role in the deal, given that Oakland wasn’t as sold on using taxpayer money.

When it then reached the owners’ vote to approve the move from Oakland to Las Vegas, all but one team owner (the Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross) voted yes.

Now, the Raiders are playing in the beautiful Allegiant Stadium in Vegas and have officially left Oakland in their rearview mirror.

The Raiders look to have more success in Las Vegas

With the Raiders in a new town, they will likely try to find more on-field success than they did in Oakland. Believe it or not, though, they actually won a lot of games in their old city, just not in their most recent stint there.

During the team’s first run in Oakland, it went to three Super Bowls and 10 conference championship games, and it won two Super Bowl titles.

In Los Angeles, the Raiders then went to the playoffs in each of their first four seasons there and won the Super Bowl during the 1983 campaign. But the team only reached the postseason three times between 1986 and 1994.

Since their return to Oakland, though, the Raiders have been awful. Other than a three-year stretch from 2000 through 2002 where they went to two conference championship games and one Super Bowl, they have consistently been one of the worst teams in the league.

In fact, since 1995, the year the team relocated back to the Bay Area, the Raiders have only made the playoffs four times. They also missed the postseason in 13 straight seasons between 2003 and 2015 and 17 times in 18 seasons between 2003 and 2020 (the 2020 season was in Vegas).

So all in all, the Raiders have essentially had a pretty rough 20-plus years. But hopefully a new city will bring new luck and the team somehow finds some of its magic from its first stint in Oakland.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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