National Football League owners have approved moving the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas in a 31-1 vote, reports ESPN, meaning the Oakland Athletics will soon be the sole tenants of the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders are scheduled to begin playing in a new $1.9 billion domed stadium west of the Las Vegas Strip in 2020.
The Raiders will play in Oakland for the 2017-18 season, and the club holds an option to extend their lease there through the 2018-19 season. However, the Raiders do not control their own destiny in 2019-20. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is a potential alternate site for the Raiders pending the construction of the Las Vegas stadium after 2017-18.
In terms of the game experience, soon enough the A’s will not have to concern themselves with re-sodding the outfield of Rickey Henderson Field after Raiders games. The A’s could even elect to expand their stadium facilities into the football-sized locker rooms. The size and quality of Oakland’s facilities has been a problem in attracting free agents to Oakland. Any upgrades can only help the A’s if they hope to be a perennial playoff contender at the point they’re ready to move to a new facility.
At the least, there will be significant clarification on how the A’s might stage construction of a new stadium at the Coliseum site, though Howard Terminal and other locations closer to downtown Oakland remain in play. Knowing when the Raiders will leave gives the A’s more opportunities to do construction there without having to concern themselves with working around crowds for nine or 10 home Raiders weekends plus playoffs.
My best guess on what will happen is that the Raiders will exercise their option at the Coliseum for 2018-19 unless the A’s offered some incentive if it meant pushing up the construction timeline at the Coliseum site. The big test of whether the Raiders will consider decamping to Levi’s Stadium is how the Oakland Raiders fanbase reacts to the team leaving, and whether they’d draw just as well in the more modern Levi’s Stadium.