The success of Las Vegas’ first major league pro franchise – the Vegas Golden Knights – will not make it harder for the Oakland Raiders to establish a link to fans in Southern Nevada. To the contrary – it only helps.
The Oakland Raiders are still two full seasons away from becoming the Las Vegas Raiders. That hasn’t stopped the team from reaching out to the citizens of their new home.
From events like the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, which provides new shoes to disadvantaged school children, to the hands-on replica stadium exhibit at the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, the Raiders have already established themselves as a mainstay in the Las Vegas community.
But will PR moves be enough to endear them to their new market? What does it take to be successful?
There can be some lessons taken from watching what the Vegas Golden Knights have done to become so successful — most important, win, and win a lot. But is there more to it than just wins and losses?
What has made Golden Knights games the hottest ticket in a city with endless entertainment?
The obvious answer is their record.
The Golden Knights are the most successful expansion franchise in North American sports history. They ran through the regular season while winning the Pacific Division and are now heading into the Stanley Cup Finals vs the Washington Capitals. Would the city be so in love with the Western Conference champions had they been horrible? Probably not. But the excitement was there long before the puck dropped on Oct. 10, 2017. More than 12,000 season-ticket deposits were made to gauge the interest level for a team back in 2015. The burgeoning Las Vegas market — once destroyed by the Great Recession – was in full recovery mode. Having reached the 2.5 million mark in population, Las Vegas was ready for a pro sports team. The NHL was the league that provided one.
Some bitter, click-bating Bay Area writers have done nothing but penned columns that talk of the Raiders’ impending failure in Las Vegas due to the success of our new hockey club. Their views are based on incomplete research, apples-to-oranges comparisons, and, worse, bitterness.
Every source we talk to regarding the Raiders PSL, season ticket, and suite sales progress tells us it’s gangbusters. The Raiders are selling high-priced club-level seats with a majority of those folks homegrown in Southern Nevada. Las Vegans are hungry for pro sports, and they are plunking down their hard-earned money to make sure they’re a part of it. Locals who aren’t Raiders fans yet are investing in the future of the NFL in Nevada.
While the Golden Knights had the advantage of not having any built-in bias toward the team, t. The Raiders will not have that luxury. There is no middle ground. Most football fans either love or hate the Raiders. Yet, when the Silver and Black become the home team, the bandwagon will fill quickly.
Without question, Las Vegas residents are quick to back a winner. They will never have seen the marketing machine and excitement created locally when the NFL rolls into town. The Golden Knights might have been the first, and they might be Vegas-born, but look for Las Vegas to embrace the Raiders just as the team has embraced us.