The Oakland Raiders are considering moving their franchise to the city of Las Vegas. While Oakland is a large market, it is not necessarily a lucrative one, particularly with the San Francisco 49ers a short distance away. Las Vegas has never had a team in a major sport and there is much enthusiasm for a major new team coming. Further, its presence as a tourist destination may provide additional incentives for the Raiders to relocate there. There are many factors that go into a decision like this including the financial benefits that may accrue to ownership as a result of the move. However, the ownership of the team may not be the only ones who benefit from a move to Las Vegas. Both players and coaches may experience significant financial benefits as a result of the relocation. Here are several different ways that they may benefit from the move to Sin City.
A New Fan Base
While a team that relocates away from one city may alienate many of their old fans, the risk of this occurring is much less for the Oakland Raiders than many other NFL Franchises. For a long time, the Raiders have maintained a fan base that goes beyond their local geographic area, partly due to a bad boy image that pulls in fans across the nation. Further, the Oakland Raiders are long term rivals of the San Francisco 49ers and there is much animosity between the fans of these franchises. Many people may simply follow the Raiders to Las Vegas rather than just choose the most local team. The presence of an expanded fan base in two cities, Oakland and Las Vegas, may lead to higher sales of NFL Memorabilia and greater endorsement deals for players of the Raiders, particularly as Las Vegas is a higher profile city than Oakland is. This increased exposure will be particularly true when the team first moves to Las Vegas with the added press that a move will bring.
The Bad Boy Image
The Raiders, as noted above, have a bad boy image that is compelling to many fans. Las Vegas, commonly known as Sin City, is the perfect place for this image to take off. The team will likely gain additional market and media exposure in a new location and this will likely lead to additional exposure for players. Players in major media centers, such as New York, tend to gain larger endorsement deals from companies looking to sponsor players. They also will often obtain larger contracts in free agency as a result of the additional exposure they get as a name brand player or coach. This can accrue significantly to players and coaches who are getting ready to test the free agency market.
California has the highest taxes in the country at a state level for many people. Las Vegas is a more tax friendly state for the majority of people as much of the state’s revenue sources are supplemented by gambling revenues. These lower taxes will accrue to the pockets of players and coaches who will keep a larger amount of their paycheck by being based in Las Vegas than in California. Income tax reporting is complicated for NFL players who report in most of the different states that they play in. However, due to the significant amount of time that they play in Las Vegas, players and coaches of the Raiders (as well as other teams) will incur lower taxes by being based there than in California.
Incentives to Stick With the Team
The Raiders have put together the first successful season that the franchise has had in many years, making the playoffs for the first time in many years. Until Quarterback Derek Carr was injured with a broken leg there was a lot of anticipation for a successful playoff run, though the team was quickly bounced with Carr’s replacement at QB. There will be a lot of pressure to keep this success going forward and the ownership of the Raiders may need to overpay for their players and coaches to stick with the Raiders when they are up for a new contract. This may be a lucrative move for the raiders in this context thereby allowing players to earn more significant contracts with greater amounts of guaranteed money than they would otherwise get without the move.
A move to Las Vegas thus might result in additional financial benefits accruing to the players and coaches of the Raiders in addition to their ownership. For the aforementioned reasons may players may be supportive of the move.