Raiders move out of shadows with Las Vegas transition

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders have worn loose-fitting clothes over the subject of their Las Vegas relocation for months, careful not to flaunt their progress and further distress the Bay Area market in which they reside.

Top officials have seldom granted interviews. Certain plans were kept hush-hush.

This is what makes now so significant.

The Raiders’ plans are showing, their deliberately quiet work in Las Vegas stepping onto a more visible stage. The switch was signaled Monday at a groundbreaking ceremony at the Russell Road stadium site that provided not only symbolic images of team-themed shovels in Las Vegas dirt — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Raiders owner Mark Davis and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell dug together — but also important comments afterward.

Team president Marc Badain, who had previously declined an interview on the topic, was ready Monday evening to detail the Raiders’ growing presence in Las Vegas. The stadium is due by July 31, 2020.

“We have, between ourselves and a firm called Legends that’s working for us in sales, I believe up to 35 employees already here,” Badain said. “Some (team employees) have moved from the Bay Area here. Some we hired from Nevada, and they’re bringing more to work in the sales center in the next two to three years.

“We have boots on the ground. We have office space. We’ve got a sales center we’re building now. We’ve got retail stores, so we’re getting here.”

Signs around Las Vegas

Before this month, there was no video of the stadium construction site streaming live on the Raiders’ official website. There is now. On the site’s home page, a link to access those images appears prominently above a continued offer to purchase a $100 deposit for a personal seat license in Las Vegas.

Before this month, where the organization was targeting for its practice facility location was a secret — “probably the worst kept” one, Badain says. Discussions with Henderson are now confirmed to be ongoing for a 55-acre site near Henderson Executive Airport.

And before this month, the franchise had nine Raider Image official team stores. There is now a 10th — the first Nevada location opened Nov. 8 in Town Square Las Vegas. An 11th, based at the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, is in development.

In April, the franchise unveiled at its stadium site a billboard that read “The Raiders are coming” in bold, capital white letters against a black backdrop. Here in November, more than any prior month, this declaration is coming to life in Southern Nevada. And this trend figures only to continue when construction sounds arrive at full volume.

“We’re just fortunate that, how everything played out, that we’re coming to Las Vegas and we’re coming here to Nevada,” Davis said Monday. “With the people that we’re working with here, you couldn’t find anything better. We’re very thankful how things worked out in that respect.”

Little change in Oakland

Meanwhile, life remains fairly status quo in the Bay Area.

At team headquarters in Alameda, California, any locker-room chatter among players regarding Las Vegas usually relates to the scheduled 2020 relocation being so distant or how nice its financial perks would be. California enforces the highest state income tax rate in the country at 13.3 percent. In Nevada, there is no state income tax. Players notice.

Of the 53 players on the roster, only five veterans and seven members of the rookie draft class are under contract through the 2020 season. Most who take the field Sunday against the New England Patriots in Mexico City almost certainly won’t be on the roster when the franchise moves. A stadium eventually springing out of desert dirt carries little reason for extensive group discussion.

Right guard Gabe Jackson should be affected. He signed a five-year, $56.8 extension in early July, keeping him under contract through the 2022 season.

Still, he said, he isn’t looking too far ahead and has yet to peruse the housing market in the Las Vegas area.

“Not yet,” Jackson said. “I haven’t even thought about it yet. Whenever they say we’re moving up there, around that time, I’ll start doing so.”

Off the field, the organization is playing in multiple arenas. The team provided black T-shirts to all its players in October following the Strip shooting. A heart-shaped logo is printed on the shirt’s front-left chest area. On the back, “#vegasstrong’’ appears in white letters. All players wore a helmet decal with the heart-shaped logo for an Oct. 8 game against the Baltimore Ravens.

On Oct. 10, Davis flew to Las Vegas to attend the Golden Knights’ home opener.

On Oct. 15, he flew 30 first responders from Las Vegas to Oakland for a game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The police officers, firefighters and dispatchers met the likes of Davis, coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback Derek Carr on the field before the game. They watched the entire game from field-level seating at one of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum’s two baseball dugouts. Shortly following the shooting, Davis and the NFL combined to donate $150,000 to victims and other relief efforts.

Some of the team’s draft picks on April 29 were announced at the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

Hiring underway

Today, multiple postings for Las Vegas-based positions appear on the Raiders’ job board.

One in the Community Relations and Public Affairs Department seeks Raiders ambassadors who can represent the franchise at “all events, fan festivals and youth football clinics” while demonstrating skills such as “exemplary customer service.” Another is for a youth football manager who can “organize and execute all youth football events, health and fitness programs, and provide administrative and staff support to the Community Relations department in Southern Nevada.”

As Badain referenced, the team has partnered with Legends Hospitality LLC, a high-powered firm whose website lists Yankee Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers and Manchester City FC among its clientele.

Legends is hiring a suite sales manager for the “Las Vegas Raiders.” Responsibilities include selling “multi-year suite agreements to C-Level executives and/or key decision makers of corporations, high net worth individuals via outbound sales calls, face-to-face appointments and presentations.”

“Through the whole process,” Davis said, “it’s been a balancing act, so to speak, of trying to enjoy the fact we’re going to be moving to Las Vegas but not disrespecting the fans in Oakland. They’re very, very dear to us, very important to us. And so that’s been the toughest thing. We’re still the Oakland Raiders right now. My goal is to try to bring us a championship while we’re still playing in Oakland in 2018 and, if things work out, 2019 as well.

“But this is really a (significant time) for the Raiders organization and Raider Nation as a whole. We’ve looked for a home for many, many, many, many years. Now we’ve got something that we’re all going to be proud of.”

As time progresses and the stadium is built, the Raiders’ relocation will move further into the forefront of all aspects tied to the organization.

Here in November, it’s begun.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Raiders Cut Ties With Smith, Ellis Gets Contract
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the Raiders cutting ties with Sean Smith and Justin Ellis' three-year contract.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Cut Ties With Aldon Smith
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders cutting ties with Aldon Smith due to allegations made against him.
Vegas Nation: Reggie Mckenzie's Son A Potential Candidate For Raiders
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over how Reggie McKenzie's son Kahlil McKenzie is a potential draft pick for the Raiders.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Parking, other topics closer to resolution
Ed Graney and Rick Velotta are joined by Las Vegas Stadium Authority chairman Steve Hill to discuss the latest developments around the Las Vegas Stadium.
Vegas Nation: Raiders lose 9th pick to San Francisco 49ers
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken provides an update from the NFL scouting combine about the Raiders and 49ers coin toss to determine which team will get the 9th or 10th pick of this years NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Lynch, Crabtree future with Raiders pending
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken provides an update from the NFL scouting combine on the future for Marshawn Lynch and Michael Crabtree with the Raiders.
Vegas Nation: Several documents approved
Ed Graney and Rick Velotta discuss the latest developments from the Las Vegas Stadium Authority meeting, including news on parking and the total cost of the stadium.
Vegas Nation: Raiders looking to keep key veterans
Vegas Nation video host and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken discuss the Raiders plans this offseason with free agency approaching.
Vegas Nation: Raiders awarded four draft picks
Bryan Salmond goes over the news that of the Raiders being awarded four draft picks.
Vegas Nation: Vontae Davis Visiting Raiders
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over Vontae Davis visiting the Raiders in Alameda California.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Estimated Cost Remains at $1.9 Billion
Ed Graney, Rick Velotta and Bill Bradley discuss updates around the Las Vegas Raiders stadium, scheduled to be completed by 2020.
Vegas Nation: Las Vegas could host NFL Draft
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken talk about Vegas' chances to host the NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Eagles take down Patriots in Super Bowl LII
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney, Michael Gehlken and Sam Gordon talk about the Eagles Super Bowl win over the Patriots.
Vegas Nation: Eagles win Super Bowl LII
Bryan Salmond recaps the Eagles Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Las Vegas, Raiders aim to host Super Bowl as early as 2023
Las Vegas and its $1.9 billion stadium project won’t be forgotten when nine NFL owners and team presidents, together wielding influence over an adjusted Super Bowl bid-selection process, meet in the coming months. Raiders owner Mark Davis serves on the Super Bowl and Major Events Advisory Committee, positioning him to have an active role in where Super Bowl LVII will be located on Feb. 5, 2023. Las Vegas, upon hosting the game, would be the latest NFL city to which league owners have awarded a Super Bowl following a stadium construction. There is no guarantee the game is coming to Las Vegas then. A combination of recent history and comments from an NFL executive, however, indicate the opportunity should arrive in the next eight years.
Vegas Nation: Minnesota running an efficient Super Bowl
Bryan Salmond and Ed Graney talk about Minnesota running a good Super Bowl and a Raiders rookie making an impact.
NFL Commissioner Goodell gives updates on hot topics with the Raiders
At a press conference ahead of Super Bowl LII, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded to questions about the Raiders hiring process with Jon Gruden and about the team having many home games played abroad.
0130 sb wrap with mention
Bryan Salmond, Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney talk about Tom Brady's Minnesota ties, Jon Gruden's advantage in coaching as well as the Patriots demanding respect.
Vegas Nation: Here's how the RJ will cover Super Bowl LII
Ed Graney, Michael Gehlken and Sam Gordon preview their coverage plan of the Super Bowl in Minnesota.
Vegas Nation: Pro Bowl edition
Bryan Salmond recaps the NFL Pro Bowl, including how Raiders quarterback Derek Carr performed.
Vegas Nation: Jon Gruden Does Not Attend Senior Bowl
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken discuss what the Raiders coaching staff are doing at the Senior Bowl.
Vegas Nation: Raiders announce several coaching hires
Review-Journal Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and reporter Michael Gehlken talk about the Raiders coaching hires as well as a significant omission.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Construction of stadium on schedule
Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and reporter Rick Velotta talk about how the Raiders' stadium construction is progressing and the complications that might occur due to pricing.
Raiders hire Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator
Paul Guenther is the new defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Guenther spent the past four years as the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator. Guenther, 46, worked with the Bengals from 2005 to 2017. He will call defensive plays in 2018, a role that Ken Norton Jr. handled the first 10 games last season before being fired. Guenther expressed his interest in working with Raiders defensive backs Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu. “I really like both of them,” Guenther said. "(Conley) was probably my favorite corner coming out last year." "We just need to get these guys on the grass, keep them healthy and teach them the system," Guenther said.
McKenzie shares memory of Gruden coaching in Green Bay
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie shared one of his memories of working alongside head coach Jon Gruden back when they were both in Green Bay.
Vegas Nation: Raiders introduce Jon Gruden as head coach
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Michael Gehlken discuss the Raiders introduction of Jon Gruden as their new head coach, including the unique atmosphere and how Gruden will work with Derek Carr.
Former Raiders discuss what the team and fans can expect from Jon Gruden
Following a press conference to announce Jon Gruden as the Oakland Raiders head coach, former players discussed what it is that he'll bring to the team and the fans.
Jon Gruden news conference highlights
The Oakland Raiders announced Jon Gruden as their head coach on Tuesday at the team headquarters in Alameda, Calif. Gruden previously coached the team from 1998-2001. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mark Davis says the Raiders' edge will come from leadership and coaching
Following a news conference announcing Jon Gruden's return as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, team owner Mark Davis said the Raiders' edge will come from leadership and coaching.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hire Jon Gruden
Michael Gehlken talks about the Raiders decision to hire Jon Gruden as their new head coach.
Vegas Nation: Gruden to be named Raiders head coach
Bryan Salmond and Ed Graney discuss the Raiders hiring of Jon Gruden as their new head coach.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like