NFL Owners Approve Oakland Raiders' Move To Las Vegas
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
The city of Oakland learned today it is losing its football team, the Raiders, again. NFL owners have voted almost unanimously to move the team to Las Vegas. A nearly $2 billion stadium near the Vegas Strip is already in the works. This will be the second time the Raiders will have left Oakland. Oakland native and lifelong fan Ted Ludwick told us he was sad to hear the news but not surprised.
TED LUDWICK: Oh, it's another classic. You know, it's the Davis family and their vendetta and all of the difficulties dealing with the city of Oakland, the NFL.
MCEVERS: Back in the early '80s, team owner Al Davis hated the decrepit Oakland Coliseum where the Raiders played. The league wouldn't let him leave, so Davis sued the NFL and, in 1982, won the right to move the team to Los Angeles. By 1995, Davis hated the decrepit Los Angeles Coliseum where the Raiders played, so he moved the team back to Oakland where the city agreed to renovate the stadium.
Twenty-two years later, Al Davis is long gone. His son, Mark Davis, now runs the team. But the Raiders' hate-hate relationship with the aging Oakland Coliseum is stronger than ever. Yet, Mark Davis said in a press conference today, the move is bittersweet.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
MARK DAVIS: I love Oakland. I love the fans in Oakland, and I know that there's going to be disappointment and maybe some anger. 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.
MCEVERS: Raiders fan Ted Ludwick says the team's first move when he was 10 years old was a gut punch. Now as a middle-aged father, it's not quite the same personal catastrophe, but he still isn't sure if he's going to stay a fan.
LUDWICK: When my kids say, we're Raiders fans, I don't know what to say. I just remain hopeful that the team does good. Maybe in a perfect world, it would kind of show them, you know, we went a couple of good seasons here, maybe even a championship, and then they go to Las Vegas and suck for 15 years. That'd be great.
MCEVERS: The Raiders will be the first NFL team to go to Las Vegas, so even if they do lose some love in Oakland, they'll have a fresh start in Nevada.
(SOUNDBITE OF THINK DIFFERENTLY SONG, "SLOW BLUES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.