Although the NFL draft is being held across the country in Cleveland, the Raiders still used the occasion to host the first official event with fans included at Allegiant Stadium.
After sitting empty through the 2020 NFL season, the Raiders’ draft party featured around 800 people, made up of players and Raiders alumni, suite and club-seat holders and business partners of the team.
Just before the Raiders made pick No. 17 in the first round, the stadium went dark and laser light show lit up the field, providing a sneak preview of what’s to be expected on game days.
As offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood from Alabama was announced as the newest Raider, the Raiderettes took to the field while Leatherwood’s photo flashed on the various screens of the stadium.
One alumni who took part in the draft party, 13-year Raider Steve Wisniewski, said his first time being in the stadium was even more special being surrounded by the fans that make up Raider Nation.
“I am blown away,” Wisniewski said. “It’s great to see fans in here enjoying themselves and the excitement of the 2021 NFL draft.”
Although they were spread out, socially distanced in suites and the 100 level of the 65,000-seat stadium, Raiders President Marc Badain said he couldn’t be happier to have a fan-attended event in their new facility.
“This is the first chance a lot of these fans have had to sit in their seats or see the building and see the areas they’re going to be watching 10 games here every single year and other events,” Badain said.
Not only is the event an opportunity to let some fans in the stadium, it’s also a way to get stadium employees hands-on experience. “We haven’t had a lot of people in here yet, so it’s a good practice run,” Badain said.
The Raiderettes also took advantage of the draft party and gave their first performance at the 50-yard line of the stadium.
At the end of the day, Badain said the event is all about the fans who were able to attend the event and get a taste of the $2 billion facility.
“It’s their stadium,” Badain said. “As you walk through the building, you’ll see there are a lot of tributes to Las Vegas and the history of Las Vegas. That was important to Mark (Davis) and the organization. I think the community will really grow to appreciate it.”