If anyone knows how Raiders fans feel about their team’s impending move to Las Vegas, it’s Amy Trask, who spent almost three decades with the franchise.
“The heartbreak of the fans that live in and around the Oakland community is palpable, and I’ve interacted with many of them,” the CBS Sports NFL analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It really isn’t mutually inconsistent for me to say that my heart hurts for those fans whose hearts will be broken by the move, but that I really do want the best for all Raider fans. Look, there are fans in and around the Oakland area who will continue to support the team during their last year or two in that venue, thinking, ‘Well, you know what? I might as well go while I can.’ There will be other fans who will say, ‘You know what? I’m done. I can’t have my heart broken yet again and continue to support the team. And there will be other fans who are going to support that team no matter where it is. And you know what? Every fans gets to make that decision for him or for herself.”
The Raiders, win or lose, have long been known for the “Black Hole,” which boasts some of the most passionate fans of any team in any sport in the world.
“There is that certain je ne sais quoi to the Black Hole in Oakland that really is irreplaceable,” Trask said. “The team has got to understand – and I’m sure and I hope has considered – that by leaving Oakland and moving to Las Vegas, they are leaving behind something that is really intangible and powerful.”
Brandon Tierney believes that fan reaction could turn ugly – both inside and outside of the stadium – once the season begins.
“A lot of that is going to depend on the performance of the team, of course, and how enthused the fan base is,” Trask said. “Look, you know that I love those fans and . . . the stadium . . . is full of magnificent people who are good, passionate people. I don’t know what that in-stadium reaction will be. I really don’t. I think we’re all wondering. But the team has to be prepared for an entire paradigm shift in its new location in Las Vegas.”
Think about it. Fans attend road games, and if they’re deciding which road game – or road games – to attend, Vegas offers a unique, non-football appeal that not all markets have.
“I think the team’s got to be prepared for a loss of that home-field environment in Las Vegas,” Trask said. “There are going to be a very, very significant number of visiting-team fans in the new stadium. Remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy wakes up and says, ‘There’s no place like home’? It’s going to be a different home.”