By moving to Las Vegas, the Raiders traded a torn up field with baseball infield dirt on it for a brand new venue and fan market of their own.
The Oakland Coliseum had been perhaps NFL’s worst stadium; Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders now play, figures to be one of the best.
The Raiders debut their new home on Monday night against the Saints in front of a national TV audience, officially welcoming pro football to Las Vegas after decades of the NFL toying with the idea of expanding to Sin City. That’s two major sports teams for Las Vegas in quick succession — it also recently got the NHL’s Golden Knights — and two new venues.
While the Raiders aren’t expected to make the playoffs in their first year in Las Vegas, they do appear to be respectable. Quarterback Derek Carr, playing for his starting job after a couple of mediocre years, is surrounded by a rising cast of skill players who could help him shine. In Week 1, the team put up 34 points in a win over the Panthers.
For much of the past 20 years, national audiences have known the Raiders only for mishaps on and off the field. Monday night, then, is an opportunity for the franchise to score a rare win in the public eye.
Below is an in-depth guide to Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders’ move from Oakland to Las Vegas:
Allegiant Stadium required nearly $2 billion to put together, significantly less than the $5 billion it took to finish recently opened SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Unlike SoFi Stadium, which was privately financed, the Raiders received financial help from the city of Las Vegas to get their new home done. About 40 percent of the cost of the Allegiant Stadium project ($750 million) reportedly came from public funds.
Construction of Allegiant Stadium began in November 2017 and finished this summer, meaning it took a little less than three years to build.
Allegiant Stadium has a base capacity of 65,000 people but can expand to hold more than 70,000 for select events.
Allegiant Stadium is located in Paradise, Nev., which is an unincorporated town within the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
Despite being an inside field, the playing surface is made out of real grass. It has a track deep underneath it, and during breaks between games it can be wheeled outside to receive direct sunlight.
Unlike many other modern football structures, Allegiant Stadium does not have a video board hanging down from its roof. Instead, there are large monitors spread around the perimeter of the stands. The choice to forgo a central screen came from a desire to maintain a full translucent roof.
Another defining feature of Allegiant Stadium — perhaps the defining feature — is an 85-foot eternal « flame » honoring late Raiders owner Al Davis. It was created via 3D printer and is made of carbon fiber and aluminum.
Allegiant Stadium has a shiny black exterior in recognition of one of the Raiders’ primary colors. Like many new stadiums, it is meant to feel airy and open despite being indoors, and side windows and see-through roof assist in creating that effect.
Every former Raider has a Legacy Brick in the north entrance plaza of Allegiant Stadium. #vegas #raiders #stadium #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/tQwQB9Va7X
« You can really sense the affection that has gone into really taking care of Raider Nation as best as possible. »
Member of the Raiders Broadcast team @bethmowins got her first look at @AllegiantStadm. pic.twitter.com/U8LOIzcnMG
Jon Gruden on opening up The Death Star (Allegiant Stadium) Monday night: « I don’t give a damn about Star Wars … but it’s a cool name and we just have to play well when we get in there. »
Exact contract terms between Allegiant and the Raiders were never officially announced, but Allegiant is reportedly playing more than $20 million per year for the deal.
The stadium’s roof is not retractable, though its semi-translucence allows natural light to illuminate the field during day games. There are also four Lanai doors along the sides of the stadium that allow views of a surrounding area that includes the Vegas Strip.
Yes, UNLV football will play at Allegiant Stadium, giving the Runnin’ Rebels a college venue far nicer than any of their Mountain West rivals. Allegiant Stadium will also host the Pac-12 football championship game as well as the annual Las Vegas Bowl. It will not host baseball games, though, in a boon for a Raiders franchise used to sharing a field with the Oakland A’s.
The Raiders moved from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2020. This is their first season outside of California.
The Raiders wanted a new stadium and either the Los Angeles market or a major market of their own. When Oakland refused to chip in the help the Raiders desired for a new stadium, and the NFL denied an LA move, Las Vegas became the franchise’s preferred destination.
The team prides itself on being a brand beyond a specific location, and it hopes the transient nature of Las Vegas can goose its bottom line rather than working against it.
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