Sports is a business I know that but today the NFL in voting to approve the Raiders move to Las Vegas showed us once again that not only is sports a business but it’s owners think of the fans as nothing more than suckers.
Let’s be clear here the Raiders, one of the league’s most storied franchises, have one of the most loyal rabid fan bases in the NFL. There is no questioning that. Even after the Raiders left them for 12 years in the 80s and 90s they welcomed them home as if they had never left. They dress up for games and root like hell for a team that gave them a decade of putrid football. But that didn’t matter because win lose or draw they were their Oakland Raiders. Simply put if you never been to a Raiders home game you have missed out on one of the best spectacles in all of sport. But because the city of Oakland wouldn’t bow to the pressure of 32 billionaire owners and provide them with a corporate welfare check to finance a stadium, at a time when the City has far more pressing economic concerns, the Raiders told one of the NFL’s best fan bases to kiss its ass and you know why? Because they can. They can because the NFL knows the fan is a sucker.
Between 1982 and 96 iconic NFL franchises moved all over the map. the Raiders moved twice, the Colts moved, The Browns moved, the Rams moved, the Oilers moved. The league awarded Cleveland and Houston new franchises to help ease the pain and put the expansion buy-in fee into their pockets. Through it all the cash kept on pouring in. Baseball once cancelled a World Series in 1994 and while it isn’t what was it used to be nationally it is doing just fine regionally as owners are flush with more money than ever before. The NBA markets its stars more than any other league. Come out and see Lebron James and the Cavs they yell and then teams casually and with no regard to its paying fan will rests whole lineups, on the road, the only time they’ll play in that city all year. Even hockey who decided to cancel an entire SEASON once and makes no attempt to grow their game to new fans like baseball sees its owners sitting on more money than ever before. How is this possible? Because the league knows the fans are suckers. No matter how bad they treat us, no matter how many teams up and leave, no matter how high the prices go or bad the product gets we’ll still scream and cheer for our team. We’ll still open up our wallets and feed the beast.
Today 32 NFL owners had a great day as they pondered the revenue from their shiny new toy in Vegas and likely expansion fee revenue for the new team in Oakland, you know that’s going to happen. But it was a sad day for the NFL fan especially Oakland and as the billionaire owners smile for the cameras and count the cash they whisper to each – Fans? Who cares what the fans think? Fans are suckers