Raider Nation Fans Will Soon Find Themselves Yelling From A Whole New Set Of Bleachers in Las Vegas
By Gerald Dlubala
The Oakland Raiders of the NFL announced their intention to move Raider nation and all those diehard, costume-wearing fans in the bleachers from their dual use stadium in Oakland to a new home in the glittering pastures of Las Vegas.
The team set in motion their plans to build a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat mega stadium, designed by Kansas City-based Manica Architecture.
Benefitting from a generous $750 million public funding measure, this stadium and event venue is slated to be ready for business, and play, for the 2020 NFL season.
It will be built in the aptly named, unincorporated town of Paradise, Nevada, matching the extravagance, showiness, and glitter of all the attractions with which it will share a home. It’s basically like adding bleachers to slot machines.
Most of the main tourist attractions call Paradise home, excluding those located in the downtown area, yet they all share Las Vegas mailing addresses.
The Raiders were announced as the city’s first major league sports franchise, although the NHL will also have a franchise playing there next season, 2017-2018, as The Golden Knights.
But as usual, the NFL will make the bigger splash, including the venue, for now, going by the simple name, The Las Vegas Stadium.
Like other designs by Manica Architecture, such as the 90,000-seat Wembly Stadium and the new 60,000-seat Inter Milan Stadium concept, the new Raiders stadium will be heavily in tune with the experience of the visitor.
That experience will be while seated for the event and moving around the facility as well.
This is by no means a cookie-cutter construction. The Las Vegas Stadium with a modern exterior design will be unique in many ways.The current stadium plan includes retractable glass doors at the club seating end, allowing an unobstructed view, and potential access to the famed Las Vegas Strip.
By including a glass-domed roof they hope to provide those spectators sitting in the bleachers with the feel of being in an outdoor stadium while adding the comfort of a climate controlled environment, essential for the Las Vegas temperature ranges.
An Eternal Flame atop a 120-foot tower situated at the center of the stadium’s glass enclosed end pays homage to Al Davis, former principal owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders from 1972 – 2011. The flame encompasses the initial idea and persistent desire that Davis had about locating an NFL franchise in Las Vegas. He believed the game, and everything surrounding it would be a well-accepted complement to the entertainment options already available in the Las Vegas area. The flame symbolizes that his long-running vision has finally come true.
This venue will be multi-purpose, hosting more than just the Raiders home games. The University of Nevada-Las Vegas is pegged as a probable secondary tenant for the venue, pending a separate lease agreement. If this scenario plays out, it would follow that the events now held at the current UNLV stadium, Sam Boyd Stadium, will be shifted to the new Raiders stadium, including Bowl games and Rugby contests.
Additionally, with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) headquarters based in Las Vegas, it’s likely that the major UFC events would be held at the new venue. Additionally, the NFL loves to reward new stadiums with Super Bowls, especially when the surroundings offer so much entertainment value outside of the actual game. Throw in a multitude of possible NCAA events and potential MLS soccer matches, and this new stadium can fill a calendar pretty quickly.
In an era of public funding request failures at the hands of voters, the new Las Vegas Stadium was awarded $750 million over 30 years in public funding, which is key in having this stadium approved.
The new stadium site will utilize a nearly 63-acre site just off Interstate 15, and be constructed near the Las Vegas McCarran Airport. This location is labeled as optimal for local as well as out of town guests, while also providing easy access to all that Las Vegas has to offer.
Potentially, separate, practice fields would be built on-site, with the possibility of these smaller facilities being available venues for lesser events, perhaps utilizing smaller aluminum bleacher seating for spectators and crowd seating.
Bleachers in the “Black Hole” now move to the desert
While the main focus is currently centered on the larger scale amenities of the new stadium, the details involved can turn an event into an experience. The design and appearance of the field are extraordinary and that same attitude of excellence is entwined into the fan experience.The seating will routinely handle 65,000 spectator seats, with portable bleacher seating being used to increase the capacity to 72,000 for large-scale events, such as a Super Bowl or a WrestleMania event.
The seating will be raked back on the lower level, and stretch vertically as the tiers rise, overlooking the field with no obstructions. Leisure areas will be interspersed throughout the venue for meandering around while still allowing views of the action.
The natural turf field will be made to be retractable, and walls on one end will be able to open for access to the Strip, located just outside the Stadium.
There will be about 8,000 parking spaces on site and around the venue.
Because of the size of the lot, the visitors can expect to also have access to mixed-use commercial development in the immediate area.
Tailgaters, not all of whom will have tickets to go inside to watch the game, will be able to set up shop in front of a giant outdoor video board that spans the entire length of one side of the stadium, creating a unique environment for them to watch the game on premise while firing up their grills and having a party or picnic near the action.
You can be sure there will be a new “Black Hole” bleacher area in the south end zone where the characters and the noise from hardcore Raider fans were like an extra, vicious player to intimidate visiting teams.
Vegas bets on mega-stadium
Las Vegas officials are counting on this venue to add to their reputation as a premier destination, both physically and monetarily.
With a current line-up of top-tier nightclubs, fine dining, and casino action available 24 hours a day, Las Vegas will now also be the place to attend and host other major events, like Super Bowls, World Cup Soccer matches, major concerts, and title fights. If you can’t get a ticket, hang out at the largest tailgate party and watch it live on the giant, outdoor, video board.
One could expect a setup of picnic benches and even maybe a small set of portable aluminum bleachers outside to watch the game on the big screen.
Media exposure from the stadium, as if the city needs any more, is valued at $100 million, and the revenue generated from the top tier events that are expected to take place at the new stadium, a majority of them sporting events, is estimated at $51.7 million.
Not bad for a franchise that boasts a current worth of $1.43 billion, second least of all current NFL franchises.
One thing you can be sure, many, many Raider fans will love this new facility. It’s big and bold just like former owner Al Davis and the Raider Nation. The higher-profile of their Sin City location will be sure to draw more fans into the fold as the Raiders already have more booster clubs and sell more merchandise than any other NFL team.
The location might be different, but the proud, fiery following of the silver and black, from the skyboxes to the bleachers to couches in front of TV, will only get more intense as a result of this new monster-facility.