Raiders get thumbs-up to move to Vegas; economic disaster on the horizon?

CBS Sports reports that the Raiders’ ownership got what it wanted today — approval from their fellow owners to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas.

The expectation for the Raiders is they will play two more seasons in Oakland, which Oakland confirmed in a statement released by the team. The 2019 season is a major question mark. The Raiders could play in Oakland for a third year, but could also play at UNLV’s stadium as well.

“We never want to see a relocation of a franchise,” Roger Goodell said. “We needed to provide certainty and stability for the Raiders, as well as for the league.”

Now there’s a large crock of bull. Does anyone really believe that one franchise — ONE — was that critical to this multi-billion dollar industry? Oh, commissioner, you are a riot.

Moreover, and more importantly, the “stability” that the Raiders front office and the league apparently desperately needed assures economic instability in Las Vegas. The Raiders are getting $750 million — SEVEN-HUNDRED-FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS — in public money to pay for the new palace, uh, stadium that will house the team.

And when you hear some city, county or state official tell you that that money is being put to good use because the stadium will generate millions of dollars, you offer them a two-letter answer: B.S.

America’s sports history is littered with those empty promises. And if that claim about lots of income proves to be a lie, remember that local schools and other valued public services will suffer.

The last word belongs to East Bay Times’ columnist Marcus Thompson, who today wrote what needed to be written: Oakland officials did the right thing in telling the NFL to go to he**.

What Oakland did was draw the line and hold strong in the face of the ever-mighty NFL. What Oakland did was uphold the chainlink being built around major metropolises across the nation. And the message is clear: you pro sports franchises, major corporations disguised as community trusts, need to pay if you want to take advantage of these major markets. Period.

San Francisco said it. Los Angeles said it. San Diego said it. And now Oakland said it, under relentless pressure from outsiders who still don’t see our city as major.

If the NFL wants to be here, it has to pay the price. If any franchise wants the sizable television rights deals, the large sponsorships, the Silicon Valley wealth pouring into its business, the dense population of fans with disposable income and a grassroots level loyalty, you have to pay the price. This is no longer a place so thirsty for your presence it will assume the risk while you rake in the profits.

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