NFL owners voted to approve the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas on Monday, as first reported by Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com.
Needing just 24 votes for the relocation to be approved, 31 owners elected for the move while only the Miami Dolphins did not.
Even though the Raiders might not begin playing games in Las Vegas for at least two seasons given a pair of one-year options with the outdated and run down Oakland Alameda Coliseum, it is the second time in nine months that Sin City was awarded a Big 4 sports franchise.
In June of 2016, the NHL brought the first major professional sports franchise to Las Vegas. Dubbed the Golden Knights, the team will being play for the 2017-18 season.
Depending on the success of the Golden Knights and the Raiders in the future, NBA and MLB franchises could also make their way out to Southern Nevada one day.
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren has already expressed his desire to see an NBA franchise relocate and share a home with the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
There has been little to suggest lately that a team would be willing to relocate, but given the struggles of some franchises, it is unjust to say that it is completely impossible.
If the momentum of an NBA franchise heading to Las Vegas picks up, do not be surprised to see the Minnesota Timberwolves crop up in rumors.
In 2013, it was rumored that the team would be sold to a Seattle group before majority owner Glen Taylor squashed any notion of it happening.
Going back even further, an arena dispute in 1994 saw New Orleans connected with getting the Timberwolves.
Minnesota hasn’t made the playoffs in 13 years or had a winning season since 2004-05 and attendance numbers have suffered accordingly. Including the 2016-17 season, Target Center attendance has ranked in the league’s bottom four in each of the last four years. If the team does not improve and crowds continue to dwindle, Taylor and the Timberwolves could have problems surviving in Minnesota.
In Major League Baseball, commissioner Rob Manfred recently addressed the possibility of a team heading to Las Vegas.
Manfred told Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in February that Sin City could be “a viable market for us.”
There already is a professional baseball team thriving in Las Vegas as the New York Mets’s Triple-A affiliate has called the city home for almost 35 years.
Given the current situations regarding the Raiders’ current tenants, the Oakland Athletics, and the Tampa Bay Rays, relocation talks could start popping up around the majors.
The Athletics have been unable to find a suitable upgrade from the Oakland Coliseum, which has regularly greeted its inhabitants with poor conditions including sewage backups and flooding.
If those issues are not resolved, Oakland could also lose its baseball team.
The current home of the Rays has experienced its fair share of problems as well. Tropicana Field has drawn the ire of many around baseball for almost two decades given its artificial surface and poor playing conditions.
While the team is actively searching for new and improved options, no traction has been gained. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that the franchise’s top choices for relocation are not available.
He has remained confident that the team will remain in the Tampa Bay area moving forward.
But with Las Vegas becoming an attractive option for professional sports, one can’t rule out the city gaining more residents in the future.