When a team moves it affects their fan bases differently, but watching the interviews and reading the tweets has made it clear that Oakland fans are not happy with this move. I understand why, but I also understand that their stadium sucks and, well Vegas is Vegas! They'll have some fans that carry over, but not all. What I'm more interested in is do they try to build a fan base from the Las Vegas residents, or do they rely on tourists to buy all their tickets?
I don't have the answer and I don't necessarily think one way will work better than the other, it is just interesting to think about. With Las Vegas being such a tourist heavy location, there are always out of town visitors there who are looking for things to do. Of course when you're in Vegas finding something to do usually isn't a problem, but now they have a new option! Do the Raiders focus on making ticket packages for tourists and try and sell out their stadium that way? I know personally I think going to a Raiders game in Vegas sounds a hell of a lot more appealing than going to a Raiders game in Oakland! I'm actually excited thinking about the potential to see an NFL game in Vegas, I can only imagine how unique that venue will be as well (or it should be at least!) - If you focus on tourists though you don't have that "home field advantage", and with a team like the Raiders who are used to that hostile environment for visitors the "Las Vegas Raiders are a tourist stop" approach might not be what they're interested in. Not to mention the fact that none of us have any idea if Vegas tourists will spend a chunk of their time at a football game. There are so many things to do there, you can't guarantee that a Raiders game is going to be #1 on everyone's list.
When you uproot a team, you are going to lose some of your fan base. Strike 1. Then when you move to a city like Vegas where, typically, the locals don't go to the Strip that often and you propose that your venue is going to essentially be an extension of the Strip, it doesn't exactly cater to the permanent residents. Strike 2.
What I'm getting at is there is already two marks against them when you think about relying heavily on a permanent fan base. I'm not saying it is impossible, because I do think that they'll be successful and popular in Vegas, but I think they will have to be strategic. They'll have to listen to what the permanent residents and surrounding area residents are saying it will take to get them to the games. Maybe it will be easier than I'm predicting, or maybe there are some hurdles they'll have to jump through. I don't have those answers.
I think another interesting piece is that they'll be playing in Oakland for at least one more season, probably two, with a fan base that knows they are leaving them. Will Oakland rally around the team and enjoy the last few seasons, or will they turn their backs immediately? It's not like they have a sell out crowd the way it is, but is it going to decrease more? Or finally fill up as people say goodbye to their team? Living near St. Louis I think if the Rams stayed another season a lot of people would have said bye and not spent their money to watch another game. They're still bitter, and Kroenke is not exactly their favorite person.. - The situation Oakland is in is unique though and I'm looking forward to seeing how their fans react in these last few years in Oakland followed by what approach they take with selling out their new stadium and fan base. I loved what Derek Carr had to say in his tweet yesterday addressing the current fan base and the future fan base, it was well very well said. Read it here!
Congrats Vegas, you're killing the game and i'm excited to see what you can do for the NFL and the NHL in the upcoming years! Zero professional sports teams to two in a short amount of time, can't wait to see how this all plays out!
What thoughts do y'all have on the move? Anybody planning on attending the first NFL game in Las Vegas?! :)