If San Francisco Blocks Raiders, Could Salt Lake Remain A Possibility?
San Francisco mayor London Breed told the local media: “As far as I’m concerned, the Oakland Raiders should play in Oakland.”
“As far as I’m concerned, the Oakland Raiders should play in Oakland." – SF Mayor London Breed doesn't want the Raiders playing at Oracle Park next season (via @BairNBCS) https://t.co/sCuWjHTl6r pic.twitter.com/UTQnbwzG8x
— Raiders on NBCS (@NBCSRaiders) February 5, 2019
She went on to cite reasons such as traffic, construction, and overcrowding with the Golden State Warriors moving to San Francisco next year at the new Chase Center.
Another issue is territorial rights that belong to the San Francisco 49ers and to get past that the league would have to have 30 of the 32 owners vote in favor of those rights being waived. That move seems unlikely because it seems improbable that they would vote – even for just one year – to allow the 49ers to give up something so valuable.
The options are getting slim for the Raiders before they move to their permanent home in Las Vegas. There is an offer to split time in Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers in Santa Clara, and there is still a $7.5 million one-year lease to remain at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for the 2019 year.
Salt Lake Could Be A Solution
With many doors closing on the Raiders, KSL’s Unrivaled made another plea to have the historic franchise set up shop in Salt Lake City for one year. The short-term benefit of having the Raiders for one year would create an extension of the fanbase in an untapped market where there are not many fans of the black and silver.
“If the NFL is serious about going into China, Japan, Europe or whatever, why not go to the Intermountain West,” Unrivaled host Alex Kirry said about the Raiders residing in Salt Lake City for 2019. “They have done the research and you’d think this place is packed with [Denver] Broncos fans. It is not actually true as its spread across the NFL with teams everywhere or people who don’t have teams but love the NFL.”
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) February 7, 2019
If the Raiders want to tap into a new fanbase and get a few hundred thousand-plus fans for life then relocating to Salt Lake for a year could be a smart business move. The ownership has to know that a move outside of California would only strengthen the Raiders brand and reap the benefits of expanding that with fans buying Raiders gear.
While it might be expensive for one year to either fly in and out of Salt Lake for games or moving the whole organization to Salt Lake City and then onto Las Vegas, but Raiders owner Mark Davis has to realize the long play of being in Utah would pay off for years for his organization.
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“Bottom line is this: This is a place that is ripe for the picking when it comes to fanbases,” Kirry added on why Salt Lake should be the temporary home of the Raiders. “All you are doing is establishing a fanbase of people that will for decades remember the year when the Raiders had no home to go to before they ended up at Las Vegas and they came to Salt Lake City for those eight games at Rice-Eccles Stadium.”
Co-host Scott Mitchell was in complete agreement with the idea of the Raiders in Utah.
"Part of the fun was watching that relationship."
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) February 6, 2019
“It does make a lot of sense and there is an opportunity here,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think people recognize that there would be a lot of people that would show up for this not only this year but then moving forward it would be phenomenal… folks would go to Vegas.”
The odds are that the Raiders will stay in the Bay Area for the 2018 season, however every day that passes is one less day for the NFL to solidify the 2019 schedule.
Salt Lake City, with thousands of potential fans spending money and getting behind the Raiders franchise for years to come, is waiting.