‘This is Inaugural Season 2.0’: Las Vegas Raiders Ready to Fully Watch NFL Shows in Sin City

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LAS VEGAS – A year ago, Mark Davis stood at the north end of the Allegiant Stadium in the shadow of the massive Al Davis Torch, welcoming Las Vegas Raiders players to their new home. The team owner called it the Death Star, “Where Our Opponents’ Dreams Come to Die.”

Alas, the Raiders went 2-6 in their new excavations and Davis, in a show of solidarity with fans – who were not allowed to enter the venue last season with the COVID -19 pandemic that was furious and no vaccine was available yet – kept away from home games.

Now?

“This is first season 2.0,” Davis told the court at a WNBA game in Las Vegas recently, where he cheered on the second professional sports team in town that he owns. And it’s a season where the Raiders are looking forward to completely releasing Vegas-style NFL football, starting with their opening against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football (20:15 ET Monday, ABC / ESPN).

With fans in the stands for the first time at the Raiders’ preseason opening on August 14, it started a great start worthy of any show to headline The Strip. Miriam Adelson, widow of Sheldon Adelson, whose first backing allowed the Raiders’ move from Oakland to light the torch.

“It meant a lot to me,” Davis said.

Marie Osmond – “She’s my friend,” Davis shouted, sang the national anthem.

And Carlos Santana picked up a half-time concert while rocking a black Raiders No. 21 jersey with SANTANA emblazoned over his back.

There was a fan-involved light show with bracelets for the 50,101 attendees. And the so lavish nightclub in the northern end zone rocked all the way through.

“It felt like we were playing in the Super Bowl,” said defensive end Maxx Crosby, “and the game didn’t even count.

“Damn, we really miss our fans.”

Added runner back Josh Jacobs: “It was crazy. A lot of energy, a lot of juice.”

“This,” Davis said, “is Las Vegas.”

Yes, this was too much for a pre-season game. An exhibition against the Seattle Seahawks’ second and third strings. How can the Raiders, who also put their starters that night, top it for full house against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens?

“Winning a football game would be No. 1,” Davis said with a wink.

And there it is. Because for all the pomp and circumstance that suits Sin City that will coagulate on the corner of Al Davis Way and Dean Martin Drive, football is the driving force. And winning games is, of course, the goal.

As such, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had some show advice for the NFL’s newest home crowd.

“When we’re offended, let’s try to be quiet,” Carr said with a smile. “Let’s be as quiet as we can. You can clap for the first setbacks. You do not have to go crazy, but hopefully stay quiet in the attack and save all our energy for, hopefully, when we score and when we are on defense. “

Hey, it’s Inaugural 2.0 after all, and the city that has hosted UNLV football, Canadian Football League’s Posse, XFL’s Outlaws, Arena League’s Sting, Gladiators and Outlaws, and UFL’s Locomotives, takes note.

The sphinx at the Luxor Hotel and Casino has a Raiders eye on its right eye, a year after Lady Liberty wore a very large Raiders jersey in front of the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on the corner of Tropicana Boulevard and the Strip.

And while the 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium is expected to be at or near capacity for the Ravens game, it will be with a vaccinated crowd. The Raiders implemented a policy after the exhibition opener, which stated that fans had to provide proof of vaccination via the Clear app before being admitted. Fully vaccinated fans do not have to wear a mask, while fans who have taken a shot or who are less than two weeks away from their second shot must wear a mask inside the stadium. Raiders also provide on-site vaccinations.

In fact, by announcing the policy, Raiders’ unvaccinated season ticket holders gave a choice if they chose not to take the shot – they could have either rolled their tickets over to the 2022 season or canceled until 2021 with a refund.

According to Davis and Interim President Dan Ventrelle, 700 fans took advantage with 1,800 tickets, with 200 tickets refunded and 1,600 rolled.

What will be the mood on Monday night?

“It’s going to feel like the first match at that stadium, because without fans last year … we had to trust each other to get hyped, and you could hear every word we wanted to say,” Jacobs said. “You could hear a needle drop at times. So I know with the fans it’s going crazy.”

Per seat, the Raiders-Raven’s average ticket price of $ 865 for the 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium is the 14th highest average ticket price for a sporting event in Las Vegas since May 2, 2015, where the average price for a ticket to Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny The Pacquiao match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with 16,800 seats was $ 3,935.

The $ 865 average is just below the $ 872 average for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final 2018 between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals at the 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena.

Has it really been three plus decades since the heyday of Jerry Tarkanian and Gucci Row at the UNLV Runnin ‘Rebels game? According to a former longtime employee of the UNLV athletics department, it cost the gilded citizens of Gucci Row about $ 125 a ticket to sit next to the track to watch Armon Gilliam, Freddie Banks and Mark Wade run their way to the Final Four in 1987. with Tark the Shark.

“And it was a scandalous price at the time,” the former employee said. Adjusted for inflation, that court seat today would cost $ 300 today.

Coach Jon Gruden, it should be noted, was a ballboy in the late 1970s for Bobby Knight in Indiana. The Raiders coach is as old as it gets when it comes to college hangers and, yes, an attack from the West Coast based on smashmouth football.

So no, growing up in Sandusky, Ohio – a fan of the Cleveland Browns in general and running back for Leroy Kelly in particular – Gruden never thought twice about the NFL ever settling in Sin City, let alone coaching the franchise. .

“No way,” he said. “I still pinch myself sometimes. You’re out there looking at the mountains, Las Vegas, and you see The Strip down there, and you’re getting ready to play professional football here. It’s really an honor for Mark Davis and a lot of people. people in this city that made this happen.Gas is an exciting place.

“I hope we give them a show that is worth the price.”

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