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Will Salt Lake City Become A Raiders Town?

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 20: A billboard featuring the words "THE RAIDERS ARE COMING" and an image of Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is seen on the construction site of the Raiders USD 1.8 billion, glass-domed stadium on December 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The stadium is scheduled to be open for the Raiders and the UNLV Rebels football teams in 2020. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – KSL’s Unrivaled lobbied for the Raiders to move to Salt Lake City for the 2019 year but that effort came up short. Perhaps the next best thing is that the Raiders will be a short flight or reasonable drive from Salt Lake City.

Having an NFL team in a fun, warm city that is close in proximity should make it a no-brainer to for those in Utah to adopt the Raiders as their new NFL team, according to Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry, hosts of KSL’s UnRivaled.

The duo was in Las Vegas when the Utah Jazz introduced its newest players recently. During their time in the city, they drove past the new $2 billion stadium that is under construction. The two were in awe.

They chatted with different Uber drivers to get the pulse of the locals about the new-to-them team. They wondered if Salt Lake should adopt the Raiders?

The answer was a resounding yes.

Opposing Fans Takeover?

There was concern that the Las Vegas Raiders could be what the Los Angeles Chargers have become with opposing fanbases taking over at home games.

Las Vegas seems to be different, Mitchell pointed out how the team fully embraced the Las Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL.

“Las Vegas is not a major market and you ask the question, ‘can they support an NFL team?’ You think that most of the teams that come to Las Vegas will bring a large crowd,” Mitchell said. “I think there is anticipation perhaps that the visiting team will actually be part of a draw. However, what happened with the hockey team and how the community embraced it immediately… the folks in Las Vegas just bought into it.”

After the duo talked with locals they concluded, the Las Vegas Raiders will have home crowds that are nothing like the issues the Chargers have.


Will this be Utah’s team?

The NFL fanbase in Utah is fractured among a handful of teams including the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and the Raiders.

However, going to a game in the Bay Area of California is pricey and a long drive from Salt Lake City. Denver is a touch closer to drive but making the trek in winter is not an easy feat. Whereas going to Las Vegas is quicker, safer and cheaper.

“I believe, because it is so easy to get to Las Vegas from Utah, to just drive there, it is something you can just do – leave on a Saturday or early Sunday morning it is not impossible to get to Las Vegas. Denver is a further drive and through the mountains,” Mitchell said.

If the Raiders were to come to Salt Lake City, as KSL’s UnRivaled proposed, for one season they would have fans for life, but there is still opportunity to grow the Raiders fanbase in Utah for generations to come.

“There is this real opportunity for the Raiders to be a local thing. For me, the Raiders in Vegas are cool and a great idea,” Mitchell added. “Every visiting team will have a serious contingent for the game is what I thought, but the answer I got in the cabs says the opposite and surprising.”

Kirry wondered if Salt Lake fans will not only just make the drive but actually become Las Vegas Raiders fans. Going to an NFL game is a totally different experience than going to see one of the many shows in Las Vegas, he added.

“My whole thing is that I wonder how much Salt Lake, from this distance, would embrace a team like this,” Kirry said. “It is not like the Raiders will be ‘my team’ I am a guy who rooted for the Seahawks growing up and still will, but I like the idea of an NFL team being close.”

Location is why some people become fans of a pro sports team. Mitchell mentioned that he spoke with a few people who not only plan to go to an NFL game in Las Vegas but actually submitted for season tickets to the Raiders.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.