by Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN News
Despite the plea from die-hard Oakland Raiders fans to stay in the East Bay, the Raider organization will be moving to Las Vegas, after getting enough votes from 31 of the National Football League’s 32 owners.
According to Raiders owner Mark Davis, the team will remain in Oakland through the 2017, 2018, and possibly the 2019 season — before officially playing in Sin City.
“I have mixed feelings obviously. I love Oakland,” said Davis. “I love the fans in Oakland, and I know that there is going to be disappointment, and maybe some anger. And I just hope that in the future — as we play in Oakland this year — that they understand that it wasn’t the players. It wasn’t the coaches that made this decision. It was me that made it.”
“And if they have anybody to talk to about it, it should be me… and I will in the coming days try to explain to them what went into making this difficult decision.”
Many kababayans in the Bay Area are upset about Monday’s announcement — like 25-year-old Nate Pati, who says he was a Raider fan by birth.
“I tried to remain hopeful that they would remain out here in Oakland,” Pati says. “But honestly I thought they would move, because the NFL is a pretty big money-grubbing business… so wherever the money goes that’s where the NFL will go. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if the fans don’t like it. They really do care about the fans, in my opinion.”
The Raiders originally began its organization in Oakland, before the team left for Los Angeles in 1982 — only for them to return to Oakland in 1995.
However, this Pinoy football fan says he might find it hard cheering for the Raiders all the way in Vegas.
“My loyalty really does lie here in Oakland, that’s who I grew up watching,” said Pati. “Even though the really bad years, it was always the Oakland Raiders. They will still be the Oakland Raiders, no matter what. I’m not going to call them the Las Vegas Raiders.”
Meanwhile, Davis hopes to restart his team in the gambling capitol of the world.
“My father used to say that the greatness of the Raiders is in its future. And the opportunity to build a world class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is one opportunity, that will give us the ability to achieve that greatness.””
The Raiders will move into a one-point-billion dollar stadium, located in the US entertainment capital.
$650 million will be financed through Bank of America corporation, while an additional $750 million will come from public funds, through a visitor’s tax on hotel rooms located on the Las Vegas Strip.