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Oakland Raiders

Raiders already cashing in on upcoming Las Vegas move

Oakland Raiders fans attend a an NFL football draft event Saturday, April 29, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/AP photo

We have our latest Las Vegas jackpot winner and it is Mr. Mark Davis. Comb that bowl cut, fine sir, because your picture is about to be displayed on a casino wall.

The Oakland Raiders likely won’t play in Las Vegas until 2020, but they already are enjoying the benefits of their pending move to the gambling mecca. After the NFL owners voted through the Raiders’ request to move from Oakland to Nevada in March, the financial world has noticed.

As part of its annual sports team valuations and rankings, a new team has appeared on the ranking — Davis’ Raiders. The Raiders are ranked No. 34 on the top 50 most valuable sports teams in the world. Davis’ team is worth an estimated $2.1 billion by Forbes.

The Raiders’ value increased a whopping 47 percent by Forbes from this time last year. The only other sports team to enjoy a higher value increase from last year to this year is the Los Angeles Rams. Their massive value boost was based on the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles last year.

That’s what this is all about — money and expected future earnings.

Don’t fool yourself and think the Raiders are 47 percent more valuable because Derek Carr and Khalil Mack have become stars. Financially speaking, it’s just a bonus that the Raiders are good again. Often, on-field success follows financial success. That’s what is so cool for the Raiders these days — they are getting quite valuable and good at the same time.

It’s no coincidence that the Rams and the Raiders are experiencing a financial awakening. They are both moving into new homes. That’s what happens in sports. That’s why there was a push to get back to the Los Angeles market. That’s why Davis pushed for Las Vegas.

Yes, Las Vegas is a smaller market than Oakland. But that’s not the point here. The point is the Raiders are going to move to Las Vegas with a new state-of-the-art stadium. They are leaving what is now the NFL’s worst stadium.

Davis wasn’t going to get a new stadium in Oakland. He was iced out of L.A. He knew he was being left behind in the NFL money grab. Las Vegas offered a new stadium and a sweet deal. Davis jumped in like a frat boy at a Vegas hotel pool bar.

It instantly resulted in a higher value of his team. Guess what? The arrow is only pointing upward for Davis financially.

By the time Carr actually takes a snap from center in Sin City, the Raiders should easily be worth more than $3 billion.

The Raiders have always had a marketable brand because of their classic logo and those silver and black uniforms. Add Las Vegas and everything that comes with a new stadium plus a quality on-field product and Davis will have a cash cow.

Davis is a famously frugal man. He drives a minivan. He dines at Hooters. He will likely never change. But his bank account will.

While Raiders fans won’t benefit financially from Davis’ windfall, of course, they will indirectly because their favorite team will become financially fatter.  Free agents will want to play in a new stadium and for a franchise that is printing money. More money comes and that means better facilities and better treatment of players. Athletes notice these things.

It wasn’t long ago that the Raiders were the least valuable team in the NFL. Their stadium was/is a dump and there weren’t many frills that came along with this team.  Players noticed it. Not many players wanted to play for the Raiders. The fact that they are going to a new home with a new stadium changes everything.

In Las Vegas, a city fueled by cash, the Raiders may become the richest show in town. The bean counters are already noticing.

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