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It’s official: Las Vegas Raiders are here

Updated January 22, 2020 - 11:32 pm

It’s official: Las Vegas Raiders will be the name of Sin City’s relocated NFL team.

The team announced its new name Wednesday at its future home, Allegiant Stadium, just one day after presenting details about the 2020 NFL draft to the Clark County Commission.

A sizable crowd of construction workers cheered as Gov. Steve Sisolak formally announced the team’s new name while wishing for the Raiders to bring “future championships.”

“The state of Nevada is excited to welcome the Las Vegas Raiders to our great state,” Sisolak said. “It offers best wishes for many successful seasons.”

The three-time Super Bowl championship team was founded in 1960 in Oakland, California, as one of the original members of the American Football League, which later merged with the NFL. The team moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and returned to a renovated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 1995.

“Both cities will always be part of our DNA, but today we bring a new chapter in our storied history,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said. “Four years ago, we told the state of Nevada that you’re getting more than a football team. You’re getting an army. You’re getting a Raider Nation.”

The Raiders received permission to move to Las Vegas on March 27, 2017. However, because of the timing of Allegiant Stadium’s construction, the team had to stay in Oakland for three more seasons. The team currently has a 30-year lease to play at Allegiant Stadium, which is scheduled to open in July.

Raiders tight end Darren Waller said it’s an exciting time for everyone involved, including the players.

“It’s still kind of hard to wrap your mind around all this,” he said. “It’s exciting just to be here and tour the stadium and facility. It’s been a pretty great few days.”

Punter AJ Cole said Las Vegas feels like home, even though the transition is still sinking in.

“It feels real now,” Cole said. “I’ve never even been to Las Vegas before, so it was hard for me to imagine my future home in a city I’ve never even visited, but being here and seeing the stadium and all the workers doing such a great job, it’s really starting to sink in that we’re making this move. We’re going to have an incredible opportunity to build something special in this city.”

Long-term benefits

Perhaps no one outside the Raiders organization was more excited to see the team add “Las Vegas” to its name than Sisolak, a longtime proponent of building the $2 billion, 65,000-seat stadium.

“It’s terrific. It’s been four years in the making when we started having these discussions,” he said following the naming event Wednesday. The Raiders “kept at it the whole time, they kept pushing forward, slowly moving forward. Now you see this stadium behind me that’s months out.”

Sisolak said the arrival of the Raiders and the completion of the stadium will have long-term benefits for the Las Vegas Valley.

“We will feel the economic impact and benefit from this for decades,” he said.

In addition to the draft, Sisolak said Allegiant Stadium could host some of the largest events in sports.

“You’re going to see it with the Super Bowl and hopefully with the Pro Bowl and some of the other events and concerts that come with it,” he said. “It’s going to do a great job and attract a lot of people to town and fill a lot of beds and help (create) jobs.”

Sisolak also said Raiders fever has spread throughout the state.

“I think it’s a Nevada thing,” he said. “The fact we’ve got our own professional franchises now. You’ve got the triple-A baseball teams, both south and north. You’ve got the Knights. You’ve got the Raiders. Real sports fans like living in Nevada now. It gives us something to root for. It becomes part of our culture.”

Can you buy Las Vegas Raiders gear?

A new name naturally means new merchandise.

Davis confirmed fans can expect to see a plethora of Las Vegas-branded Raiders merchandise in April.

“We are going to release it at the draft, so it’s kind of like waiting for Christmas,” he said.

While Davis didn’t specify when stores would begin carrying the merchandise, associates at the Raider Image team stores at Town Square, the Fashion Show mall and Galleria at Sunset all confirmed the new gear will be on the sales floor April 23 — the first day of the draft. Meanwhile, local stores like Sports Town USA in downtown Summerlin said they will carry Las Vegas Raiders gear in April.

There are also plans to add at least two more Raider Image stores this year. One will be at Allegiant Stadium near the main entrance, while a second store will be placed at the team’s Henderson headquarters and practice facility.

When asked if there are plans to further expand its retail footprint, Davis said, “We’ll see how that goes.” He also said fans should expect to see “everything” when it comes to its new line of apparel and accessories.

Contact Subrina Hudson at shudson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @SubrinaH on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Mick Akers and Adam Hill contributed to this report.

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