NHL Reponse to NFL in Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada, has rapidly become one of the most talked about cities in the sports universe. In 2016, Sin City was awarded its first big league, professional sports franchise with the Vegas Golden Knights setting up shop at T-Mobile Arena, right off of the Las Vegas Strip. In 2017, there’s a possibility that they could have company in southern Nevada.

Oakland Raiders to File for Relocation

Saturday, it was reported that the possibility the NFL’s Oakland Raiders could leave the Bay Area and relocate to the Las Vegas Valley will soon take a significant step forward. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com revealed that the Raiders plan to file relocation papers, “in the coming days.”

Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog reached out to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly to get his thoughts on two professional sports franchises doing business in southern Nevada.


“I would say overall, it’s neutral. We were certainly aware of the talk and the possibility of the NFL locating a franchise in Vegas at the time we made the decision to expand into Las Vegas. So, obviously, we felt an NFL team – if it transpired (and certainly time will tell on that) – wouldn’t materially affect the business of the hockey team. That continues to be our feeling. I think while fan bases undoubtedly overlap, the sports ‘buy’ for sponsors is materially different as between football ‎and hockey.”

Well said. From a local’s perspective, I can tell you that enthusiasm for the Golden Knights among Vegas residents has very little to do with whether or not the Raiders relocate. Simply put, here in Vegas it appears hockey fans are hockey fans, and football fans are football fans. Yes, a cross section certainly exists, but those fans that would scrap their plans to invest time, money and other resources into supporting the Golden Knights due to an NFL franchise blowing into town number very few by my observation.

That said, it’s important to remember that a lot has to happen before the Raiders are part of the Nevada sports landscape. Rapoport reports that a lot of money has to change hands and that there are still plenty of questions to answer.

There are still questions, including whether or not the Raiders do the deal for the $1.9 billion Las Vegas Stadium project with the help of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson or not. That was the original plan — the Adelson family would contribute $650 million, the Raiders would contribute $500 million, and there would be $750 million in Clark County hotel room tax revenue. They have not yet come to terms.”

Foley Isn’t Worried

(Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports)

The possibility that the Raiders could move to Las Vegas was something Golden Knights owner Bill Foley was well aware of all along. This clearly did not deter him in his mission to bring professional hockey to a new market, as interest of Raiders’ owner Mark Davis in Vegas relocation has been reported going back to January of last year. With another entertainment option in a city that already has so many, it is logical to reach the conclusion that a second professional sports franchise would have some sort of financial impact. 

Last summer, when asked if he was concerned about the NFL possibly joining the NHL in Las Vegas, Foley didn’t flinch. In fact, if it happens, it sounds like the Las Vegas Raiders would have at least one new fan.

“I think the NFL would be great here. I’ll be a season ticket holder,” Foley said last June. “They’re a different fan base than we have and I don’t believe they’ll have any impact on us. On sponsorships, we have a head start. We’re here. We’re going.”