Updated August 5, 2020 - 1:32 pm
With a sold-out Allegiant Stadium set to sit fanless for the 2020 NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders are poised to take one of the largest financial sacks in the league.
Michael Ozanian, Forbes’ executive editor who helped create the publication’s annual professional sports team valuation lists, predicts the Raiders will be in the top third of money losers this season, while Ticket IQ, a ticket search engine, says the Raiders stand to lose the most out of all 32 NFL teams.
“The money portion that they lose from this stadium revenue, as best as I can estimate, would probably be in the top third of the league,” Ozanian said. “I don’t know what that number would be, but it would be in the top third. They’ve done extraordinarily well.”
The Raiders’ success with sales of personal seat licenses and season tickets — the 65,000-seat stadium was sold out before it was constructed — plays a big role in that, according to Ozanian. Selling out that far in advance surpassed Ozanian’s initial expectations for the team being introduced to the Las Vegas market.
“In a general sense, given the PSL sales and season ticket sales and all … the Raiders were going to be far more successful in the new building (Allegiant Stadium) than in their other building,” Ozanian said. “I think a lot more successful than a lot of people thought.”
But on Monday, Raiders owner Mark Davis announced the team would play without fans in its inaugural season at new $2 billion Allegiant Stadium. The result, Ozanian said, is the Raiders will be among the hardest hit this season.
Ticket IQ, meanwhile, estimated the Raiders’ ticket market value loss for the 2020 season will be $571 million — the most of any NFL team.
Ticket IQ estimated the ticket market value losses for the entire NFL would be nearly $7 billion if all games are played without fans in 2020.
The Ticket IQ estimates are based on the secondary market value with 100 percent capacity at stadiums.
The company notes it’s not a precise measure, “but the simplest way to benchmark the magnitude of losses by team.”
Raiders a hit in Las Vegas
Since the Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas was first rumored in 2016, the franchise’s value has skyrocketed nearly $1.5 billion, from $970 million to $2.9 billion, according to Forbes’ 2019 list of team values.
That jumped the Raiders from the 31st most valuable franchise to the 12th most valuable as of 2019.
With the continued success of the Raiders’ PSL sales and introduction to the Las Vegas market, Ozanian expects the team’s value to continue rising when the 2020 valuation list is released in September.
“I don’t know what the exact number will be (on the 2020 list), but I would say they’re definitely worth more than $3 billion,” he said.
The Raiders brought in $549.2 million in PSL sales at Allegiant Stadium, according to the latest financial report provided to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority. One-hundred percent of that money was put into the stadium in the form of upgrades.
One thing about the Raiders’ PSL success that stood out to Ozanian was the number of purchases from fans outside Nevada.
About 40 percent of PSL buyers were from outside Nevada, with purchases coming from all 50 states. A heavy portion of the out-of-state buyers were from northern and southern California.
“One of the things that I find most interesting, and it’s pretty telling, is the big geographical diversity in which they were able to sell these PSLs,” Ozanian said. “There were many from out of state. I think it speaks to the power of the Raider brand. Everybody, and rightly so, talks about the Cowboys as being one of the national brands in football. The Cowboys, the Steelers and the Patriots because of all their success.
“Seemingly from this, it looks like the Raiders are another one of those brands.”