Could today be the last time the name the Oakland Raiders is used at the NFL Draft?
Mark Davis and his Oakland Raiders plan to move operations to Las Vegas by 2020 but the team still needs a home for three years. As of now, Davis’s Raiders franchise would spend the 2017 and 2018 seasons running a going out of business sale in Oakland. That leads to the following question. Who in Oakland, the Bay Area and Northern California will buy what Davis and his partners are selling? The NFL knows firsthand that selling a lame duck team is not a formula for success. Bud Adams had a disastrous 1996 season from the business standpoint after he announced that he was moving his Oilers NFL franchise from Houston to Nashville in 1995. Adams plan was to stay in Houston in 1996 and 1997. Adams ended up playing in Memphis, Tennessee in 1997 because it was decided it was not worth keeping the team around in Houston in 1997.
Adams got about 20,000 customers per game in 1996. Why would well-heeled customers and even Davis’s Raiders have well-heeled clients despite the Raiders crowd reputation and the whole Black Hole marketing campaign spend money on a group that is leaving? Local businesses always like to be associated with sports teams even if the partnership doesn’t bring results, people who partner with sports teams like to rub elbows with jocks. Would local businesses who buy stadium signage or sponsor the Raiders games on radio or Raiders programming on regional cable TV want to put up money for an operation that is relocating? Oakland city officials will take Davis and his partners rent money. It is better than having an empty stadium but Oakland will never get back the money the city invested in 1995 to renovate the Oakland Coliseum for Raiders football. The NFL is a business.