The Raiders officially changed their name to the Las Vegas Raiders one week ago today, and here at the Super Bowl in Miami, the NFL community is already embracing them with open arms.
When the Raiders and the NFL announced the team would be moving to Las Vegas nearly three years ago, there was plenty of excitement, but with the name change everything feels real now, and the buzz is ramping up.
Tuesday afternoon at the Miami Convention Center, FOX Sports held a media availability for its television personalities, featuring big names like Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, Erin Andrews, and more. While the emphasis this week is on the Super Bowl LIV matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, the analysts took time to share their excitement about the Raiders transition to Las Vegas.
"I am so excited for the Las Vegas Raiders," Andrews said beaming. "When obviously we found out the NFL was going to Vegas, I was like, 'This is going to be incredible and how many games are we going to get to do there?' It's just going to be a blast."
"I think it's going to be awesome," Aikman added. "I think the Raiders are an up-and-coming team that really made some great strides this year. I like what Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden are doing, so I think they hit Vegas at probably the right time. There's a little bit of excitement about that team and it should be fun. I'm hopeful we'll get to call a game there."
The Silver and Black aren't entering just any other market; they're entering the entertainment capitol of the world, and the team will be the focal point of Fabulous Las Vegas. Two-thousand one-hundred eighty miles away from Allegiant Stadium in Miami and people can't wait to set foot in the state-of-the-art facility.
There's no denying the Raiders are a global brand; you can find The Shield all over the globe, and when you combine that with a city like Las Vegas, it's the makings of something special.
"I think the fact that the Raiders and Las Vegas kind of becomes an international team — the one team you can really say that — because of all the business leaders who come throughout the world that are going to come to Las Vegas, that's going to be must see," Jay Glazer said. "Vegas used to be Cirque Du Soleil, but now I think the Raiders are going to be the ticket to go see, especially with that stadium. It's great, it's brilliant of the NFL to put a team in Vegas."
We're still a ways from the Raiders' first official game in Las Vegas, but the 2020 NFL Draft is just around the corner and all eyes will be on the team in their new home. With two picks in the first round, there's plenty of reason to feel anxious about what General Manager Mike Mayock and Head Coach Jon Gruden will do, but Raiders legend Howie Long is more excited about all the cap space the team will be able to spend on marquee free agents.
"It's challenging to compete in today's market, and what people don't realize, the only non-shared revenue in the NFL is luxury boxes," Long explained. "That's why stadiums are such a big deal, this affords them the opportunity by relocating to Las Vegas and having your own actual stadium with viable luxury boxes, which by the way I think are all mostly sold out. You can compete financially in the free agent market, you don't have to worry about signing a particular player because for example today, let's say you signed a defensive end for 110 million dollars, whatever portion of that is guaranteed — even though you don't have to pay it for three, four years — you essentially have to put that all in escrow. That's the new system, so writing that check for 90 million dollars was a challenge in Oakland."
There will always be a soft spot for the city of Oakland, but the future is in Las Vegas and people can't wait.