Smallthoughtsinasportsworld is happy to have back guest Cover2Chris. On this post he gives his take on why Las Vegas Deserve an NFL team.
The NFL is and has always been afraid of putting a franchise in Las Vegas, NV. From the outside looking in, these concerns in the past has been warranted especially when it comes to the integrity of the game. The ‘Integrity of the Game’ is a buz-word so let’s define why it is critically important for us and the NFL. If the integrity of the game were ever threatened and confirmed, those games that we all love to watch on Sundays would be considered a farce. Fans as a whole would consider the NFL no better than World Wrestling Entertainment or the WWE. Confirmed conspiracies in the past like UNLV basketball point shaving has caused not just the NFL but other major sports leagues to shy away from Las Vegas as a whole.
Another reason for the caution is the night life. What happens in vegas, stays in vegas, right? Until it doesn’t. At which point, hopefully you are not caught up in a bunch of trouble personally or legally. Some people simply cannot handle Las Vegas, and unfortunately, the demographics of people associated with an NFL team cater perfectly to the negative underbelly of Las Vegas. It’s rarely a good idea to trust the judgement of young 20-something millionaires in a place that can so easily reflect so badly not just on the local NFL team, but the NFL as a whole.
However, the NFL has spun an epic 180 degrees on its opinion on the possibility of a team being in Las Vegas. NFL Commish Roger Goodell has said, ““…I also believe that Las Vegas is not the same city it was 10 years ago or 20 years ago. It’s a much more diverse city. It has become an entertainment mecca. It’s the fastest-growing city in the country. So I think when you look at it today versus what it was a decade or two ago, I think it’s a much different city. And they made a very compelling proposal, which the owners obviously approved overwhelmingly.”
Goodell is partly correct, growth has occurred, but i don’t think Las Vegas has grown as much as he thinks. I think the NFL and the United States as a whole has grown up, matured, have realized that having a team in Las Vegas is not as bad as it was once perceived. You, no doubt, have been annoyed with the constant Fanduel and Draftkings commercials that have been in heavy rotation during the NFL season. It is a big deal for the NFL to be associated with these daily gambling sites. Then we have fantasy football. Fantasy football is a billion dollar activity. It is the whole reason most people watch the NFL to begin with. If the NFL embraces Las Vegas like it has these other similar ventures, this could open up doors and loads of money for players, teams, owners, and ultimately the NFL.
Despite what we have thought in the past, here are a few reasons why the NFL is a good idea for the Raiders AND the NFL.
Great Spot for Free Agents –
One of the greatest draws of playing in states like Texas and Florida is that there is no state income tax. Just think, if a player signs a $15 million/yr deal with a team in the state of California, nearly 40% of it will go to taxes. Which would make the players take home at just under $10 million. That is quite a big chunk of change to just give up to taxes, especailly where there might be a way around it. However, the great state of Nevada has done sports franchises a solid by not having state income tax at all! To many players considering tax ramifications can make or break a deal to a prospective team.
Then you have the family factor. And This isn’t only something players consider, this includes the families of coaches, personnel, and staff. Schools, infrastructure, local law enforcement, and neighborhoods are all above average to very good in Nevada. I have friends in Vegas and they co-sign that it is actually a great place to raise a family. It’s important to realize that Las Vegas is much more than just “the strip”… Much like New Orleans is more than just Bourbon Street or New York City is more than just Time Square. It’s a town, a place that many can and will call home.
As sad as it seems to bring this up, we would be remiss if we did not mention one particularly hot-button issue that actually is a definite consideration for free agents when looking for a new team. And that is the legalization of marijuana. This past election saw Nevada join the ganja ranks and they are proud of it. Like it or not, the writing’s on the wall for the NFL to loosen up it’s stance on the use of marijuana. Many NFL players whether they admit to it publically or not use the sticky-icky on the regular between drug tests. And with players getting busted constantly and more and more medical advancements promoting the use of marijuana, a state where it is available at corner vendors is a definite draw in favor of the Las Vegas Raiders. But until then… just dont get caught. (ricky williams)
Government Regulation –
Another reason the NFL shouldnt be afraid of Vegas is government regulations. Any time something is prohibited or illegal it immediately becomes forbidden fruit to some in society. And whether law enforcement likes it or not, that forbidden fruit will get moved illegally underground. Then as a result, the product becomes tainted and dangerous for the general public.
Prohibition, gambling, and marijuana are perfect examples of these. Enter legislative regulation. Once the local government is able to get a cut on the proceeds (whether that is requiring permits or education and the like) they can begin regulating or controlling the distribution of once banned activities or substances. These regulations can also require certain standards be met before these items can be consumed, thus making them surreptitiously safe. Industries such as alcohol, gambling, prostitution, and marijuana is all regulated in the state of Nevada. And in some instances these government regulations gives them a leg up on the other 49 states that struggle with suppressing some many of these activities. This is helpful for the NFL because it provides an avenue for people to express their need to practice activities that are illegal in other states. With that avenue available, people will be less inclined to broker under-the-table type illegal activities.
Regulation is also a good thing for industries in particular like gambling because it cuts down on the amount of illegal activity that generally derives from the practice of gambling. For instance, if you have the gambling itch and want to lay down a dub on your fav sports team, in Nevada, you don’t have to worry with finding Vinny the Fish to be your bookie. Thus risking your thumbs and perhaps being able to try on those new pairs of cement shoes you’ve been having your eye on. On the contrary, You can simply hit up the MGM Grand and scratch the gambling itch… safely and with plenty of cameras. I am not one to gamble, never have and never will, but still, that type of regulation is attractive to people, businesses, players, and owners.
Now that we have discussed a few reasons why the NFL should expand to Las Vegas, how can they do it?
The NFL has a precious opportunity to expand their brand in a totally new market. But old policies that have stood for years will have to change. The NFL has been known for being one of the most reactionary leagues in the world. Which makes recent Stories of active and former NFL players potentially getting fined for an Arm Wrestling event that just so happened to take place at a casino rather coincidental and untimely. Frankly, the policy states is that no NFL personnel can participate in any kind of promotional event at a casino or gambling establishment. Remember that the NFL is fining these players due to regulations that it has imposed upon itself. This is akin to taking your kids out for ice-cream at 9pm at night, then reprimanding them for staying up past their 830pm bedtime.
The reality is the 32 owners have approved the Raider to move. Which means the same policies the NFL holds on gambling will have to be updated. The policy is old, disingenuous, and must be changed so the NFL doesn’t look hypocritical. Much to the surprise of the NFL there are other things to do in a casino other than gambling. There are shows, promotional events, conferences, buffets, etc…
So as a whole, how can you NOT cater to the biggest industry in the city of your NFL franchise? We are talking Naming rights, official gaming partners, other sponsorships…. there is a lot of money that can and will be made from putting a team in Las Vegas and just being honest the Raiders are about to cash in big time.
Even Las Vegas themselves are welcoming in the NFL by offering them a shiny new covered stadium and the Nevada Gaming Control Board granting approval for betting on the NFL Draft. But before you start putting up your hard-earned dough, it is not the traditional bets of what team will take who…So far it is fun prop bets that are typical of the SB. Things like how many QBs taken in the first round, whether more offensive or defensive players will be taken in the draft, first kicker, number of players from particular college, etc…
Hopefully i have been able to convince you that this move to Las Vegas has to happen and is ages overdue. I’d like to hear what you think, do you think Las Vegas is mature enough to deserve a coveted NFL franchise? Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think on the matter. I’m Cover2Chris and I’m OUT!