So it seems to be the hot topic off the field right now in the NFL. We’ve got every man and his dog weighing in from NFL owners to ex-players not to mention the barrage of social media ‘pundits’ but where do we stand as a Worldwide Nation – somewhat divided! We aren’t going to get into the he-said-she-said back and forth that has happened between the torrid-treo of Mark Davis, Libby Schaaf and the Las Vegas “welcoming committee”, more the experience as we see it for the remote fan if The Raiders were to move from Oakland.
So let’s get one thing clear from the offset, from a non-Oakland (slightly younger generation) resident’s perspective Oakland is the Raiders and the Raiders are Oakland – there is a longterm tie for sure. They were founded there, nurtured there, grew up, threw a teenage tantrum and stomped out the front door down to the big city to only to come back a few years later for a family cooked Sunday roast and patch it all up. So does that speak volumes about our bond with Oakland or is it just an example of an NFL move gone wrong?
However, to a non-season ticket holding, non-Oakland resident, passionate “remote fan” looking in on the situation the really big question is – does it actual matter where we, The Raiders, are based? So, what are the things that would change….
Gameday Visitor Experience – Well this is the easiest, of course this is going to change for the regular fan, but to the occasional Oakland attendee, well no, this isn’t going to feel all that different. The stadium will be completely kitted out in Raider banners and memorabilia, the fans will (all being well) be donning the Silver & Black and the vibe will be all things Raider. Will we miss the failing water system, the upturned turf clumps, the broken pa
vement of Oakland – sure! But aren’t we there for the football game and fan comradery than the surroundings? If I want ‘surroundings’ I’ll pay for a £50 Bourbon in the Smoking Room of the Hotel-Du-Something.
Superfans & The Black Hole – Would we see the synonymous Black Hole© in Las Vegas – Maybe. I think the Halloween-Vibe will always remain with the Silver & Black Raiders organisation and we will always see the “super-fans” peppered all over the stadium. With the cluster in the end-zone now 20 years engrained in our heritage it will remain, but to the size it is today – probably not. None of this will make a difference to how loudly we cheer when Carr slings another TD to Cooper whether we are on the front row of the sideline bleachers or all the way from our couch in a dark and damp London apartment.
TV Experience – Really, how much could a new stadium change this?!? Gamepass has got us nicely covered from every angle so we see more and more of the stadium, but not once have I thought to myself “ohh that wall could do with a new lick of paint” as they cut between our mighty Silver and Black – frankly I’m too busy cursing at the TV to get Dan Fouts or Neil Reynolds off the screen and back to the action to care!
All in all how much does a move mean to the remote viewer or casual Raider game attendee, not a great deal. “But we love Oakland” I hear you plead, well yes I get that and tradition is a great thing, we know, we as the Raiders have an abundance of it but at the end of the day does it REALLY matter – come gameday, the officials are as blind as they always are, the commentary crew are as interrupting with their ‘David Carr’ and ‘Armari Toomer’ slips as ever…. Then when you finally manage to get to a game in person – The seat is the same and the beer is as over-priced as a London Cab after midnight on a Saturday. Sure we love Oakland but don’t we all also like to get the latest tech in our house, sure it feels a bit alien at first but it will settle in (eventually).
Now if they change the Raider name or the colours…. Well now we have a real problem on our hands!