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Mark Davis says fan vaccination requirement was the right decision

After waiting a year with the rest of Raider Nation, team owner Mark Davis this week finally took in a Raiders regular-season home game at Allegiant Stadium.

The Raiders opened the $2 billion facility in grand fashion, pulling off a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens in front of an announced crowd of 61,756.

Raiders home games feature 62,500 fixed seats in Allegiant Stadium, all of which were sold, according to Davis. The missing 744 people who kept the game from being at full capacity were no-shows, Davis said.

Allegiant Stadium has been touted as having capacity for 65,000 fans. According to Las Vegas Stadium Authority documents, however, the stadium has 62,500 fixed seats for NFL games, though that can be expanded for special events such as a Super Bowl.

Davis said having the stands filled with fans and their energy reinforced the decision not to allow any fans into the stadium last season instead of opening it up to a limited number.

“It kind of legitimized the decision not to have fans partially in the stadium last year,” Davis told the Review-Journal. “I think it was the right one knowing how exciting it was to open up the stadium with full capacity. The crowd was phenomenal, as the Raider Nation always is.”

The COVID-19 vaccine verification process was carried out smoothly on Monday, allowing fully vaccinated fans to attend the game without masks. The Raiders chose to require that all fans attending games be vaccinated after the state opened up that option for large gatherings.

“I thought about the option between that or trying to police masks. We thought about it long and hard and I think we made the right decision,” Davis said. “For all of us to be able to enjoy it together was really special.”

Davis took in his first regular-season Raiders game in the stadium in his suite, along with a few notable guests including Gov. Steve Sisolak, former Gov. Brian Sandoval, entertainer Gladys Knight, former Golden Knight Ryan Reaves and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Woodson.

“It was really a fun night,” Davis said.

The first two games — including the preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 14 — have featured musical performances. Rappers Ice Cube and Too Short performed at halftime Monday. Davis said each game will be different and not all will feature musical acts.

“There’s going to be different types of halftimes,” Davis said. “With the Dolphins (Sept. 26) we’re going to be presenting Tom Flores with his Hall of Fame ring, celebrating Tom Flores. I think that might be a little bit different at halftime. It will be something special for Raider Nation.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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