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Raiders’ Mark Davis looking forward to Las Vegas: ‘Losing the LA vote was the best thing that ever happened’

At one point, Mark Davis and the Raiders had eyes on a possible relocation to Los Angeles, not Las Vegas, if things couldn’t be hashed out in Oakland. It was ultimately Nevada that came away victorious, and the team is now readying to take the field at the shiny, new Allegiant Stadium that lands at a cool $1.84 billion in costs to construct. The story of why the proposal to move to Southern California fell apart is one Davis doesn’t mind revisiting just ahead of training camp, noting how doing so would’ve been a mistake of sorts — all things considered. 

“I have lost games before,” Davis said, via The Athletic. “That’s how I have learned to live my life. You lose on Sunday, you’re pissed about it. I go to P.F. Chang’s on Monday, I have lunch and then I am on to the next week. We got our ass kicked in L.A., and we went back to Oakland with our tails between our legs.”

The initial proposition saw the Raiders joining the Los Angeles Chargers in a stadium-share that would’ve been housed in Carson, California, but the Rams threw a monkey wrench in the plans. Stan Kroenke, owner of the Rams, successfully relocated the team from St. Louis to Los Angeles and struck a deal with the Chargers to share what will be the all-new SoFi Stadium in 2020. That left Davis with only Oakland and Las Vegas as options, but the relationship with the former had long soured at that point.

He points the finger squarely at Scott McKibben in that regard, the former director of the Coliseum Authority in Oakland, for the team accepting Las Vegas’ offer.

“[To lose out on L.A.] and then McKibben backtracked and tripled our lease,” Davis said. “It was total disrespect. It was like, how are we going to work with these people? Vegas had been after us for years, but I told them I will only talk to you if Oakland and Los Angeles don’t happen. 

“Losing the LA vote was probably the best thing that ever happened for us.”

Unfortunately for the Raiders — as well as the two aforementioned teams in Los Angeles — they’ll be forced to begin their inaugural season in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic that will shut out most, if not all, of NFL fans in Las Vegas. The team is working to determine if they’ll drastically shrink fan capacity in Year 1, or not have any in attendance at all, but the future looks bright for Raiders’ support in Nevada once everything eventually settles in (likely) 2021 and beyond. So while the Raiders were initially heartbroken to have lost out on Los Angeles, Davis isn’t looking at Vegas as a consolation prize. In his eyes, it’s the prize he truly wanted but didn’t know until he actually got it.


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