Allegiant Stadium Debuts Modestly Without Fans Inside
Last night's "MNF" matchup between the Raiders and Saints might have been about "introducing the wonder of Allegiant Stadium and how it aptly shines among the bright lights of Las Vegas," but the Raiders were "determined not to get overcome by the celebration," according to Ed Graney of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The evening "began with a moment dedicated to the past, Carol Davis lighting the memorial torch named for her late husband," Al Davis. Afterwards, a game kicked off against the Saints, and the Raiders "delivered an impressive look at the present." Raiders Owner Mark Davis "wasn't in attendance ... having pledged he won't be at games here until COVID-19 reaches a stage where fans are allowed into the stadium." Davis was "at the team's practice facility in Henderson, where $500,000 was raised for local charities and a select group watched the victory with him" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/22).
NO FRILLS: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel wrote this historic day of Las Vegas opening its "much-coveted big super stadium was anti-climactic with no fans and no stadium debut celebrations" (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 9/21).ESPN’s Steve Young: “If Al Davis were alive today this was his dream. Everything about this stadium, from outside to inside, on the field, in the bathrooms, it is Raider. You are Raider from the second you get in until the second you leave and so if there was ever a dream come true, Al Davis has to love what’s happening here” (“Monday Night Countdown,” ESPN, 9/21).In Las Vegas, Case Keefer writes despite the 65,000 seats on the 65-acre property being empty, the Raiders "brought a high production value to Monday Night Football." The pregame "couldn't have been any more different than Las Vegas' Week 1 win at Carolina, where players admitted to feeling a lack of energy when, among other things, the music cut out in warm-ups." The bass was "thumping throughout as the Raiders and Saints stretched and went through their routines before kickoff Monday afternoon." The video screens "emitted a clarity only thousands of fresh LED bulbs could provide" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 9/22). ESPN’s Steve Levy: “Caesar has his palace, now the Raiders have a palace they can call their own" (“Monday Night Football,” ABC, 9/22).
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Las Vegas “has been a destination for people all across the country to go to” and it will be a “destination for free agents to go to.” Schefter: “No state tax, advantage Raiders. The sights and sounds of Las Vegas, advantage Raiders. It will be advantage for the Raiders when the opposing teams come in there and teams have to keep their players from going out late at night in Las Vegas" (“Monday Night Countdown,” ESPN, 9/21).
QUITE THE FEAT: In L.A., Dylan Hernandez writes the Raiders "have done it again." They have "abandoned not one but two markets and convinced their fans to follow them." This time, "into the desert." And that is with the newly opened Allegiant Stadium being "closed to fans for the entirety of their maiden season in Las Vegas." Many people from L.A. and the Bay Area drove "to show up to a stadium that can't be entered." The day before the game, the parking lots at Allegiant Stadium "were packed before noon" (L.A. TIMES, 9/22). SI.com's Albert Breer wrote he is "not sure the Raiders have gotten quite the credit they deserve for pulling off what they have the last five years, so I'll give it to them." Navigating everything the team did to get here is a "monumental achievement." After having their joint L.A. project with the Chargers "shot down and landing third in the pecking order for the Inglewood stadium ... the Raiders really seemed to be out of options." Breer: "What's clear here is this: Raiders Owner Mark Davis has been way savvier than anyone thought he'd be in pulling this off, with team president Marc Badain leading the way on the business side" (SI.com, 9/21).