A crazy season for the Oakland Raiders is about to turn into an even crazier offseason. While the team has played their last game in California, they still have Oakland in their name for the time being. The move to Las Vegas is coming this year, but until Allegiant Stadium is completed, the team will remain in Calfornia.
“We’re gonna have our offseason program here starting around April 15th, whenever the league allows us to start our offseason program here,” head coach Jon Gruden said on Monday. “Then we’ll have training camp in Napa, and my understanding is after we break training camp, we will formally move to Las Vegas.”
Based on Gruden’s comments, the Raiders will be staying put for the next several months. The team’s headquarters and stadium are still being built, so there’s no reason to rush things. As it stands, Allegiant Stadium is supposed to finish up construction on July 31st, per Mick Ackers at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Recent photos released of the stadium got fans excited and there’s no doubt that Mark Davis is ready to reap the benefits of his massive investment.
Does Training Camp in Napa Complicate Things?
In 2019, training camp started on July 23rd and ended on August 19th. The first preseason game was on August 10th. The Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium doesn’t appear to be facing any sort of delay at all so it should be ready to host the team by the first preseason game. Now, Oakland is a lot closer to Napa than Las Vegas is. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Raiders play their home preseason games at the Oakland Coliseum.
However, the team will be holding training camp in Napa for the foreseeable future. There are a number of teams that hold their training camps out of their home states. The team might as well get used to traveling out of state for training camp. The only way the Raiders play another game in the coliseum is if construction is delayed on Allegiant Stadium.
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When Will Team Change Their Name?
Despite the season being over, the Raiders are still referred to as the “Oakland Raiders” on their social media platforms and the NFL’s official website, so when exactly when the name change happen? One possible date is March 18th as that’s the first day of the 2020 league year and when free agency begins. This would make the most sense as it is the day that the NFL resets for the next season.
Another possibility is that the change will happen in April as Robert Carr reports that the team cannot sell “Las Vegas Raiders” merchandise until April 23, 2020.
The team is likely to take their time officially transitioning due to the fact that playing in Oakland for a portion of the 2020 season is still possible, though unlikely. Delays happen in construction all the time. That said, there have been no indications that the opening of Allegiant Stadium will be delayed. Expect the new structure to unveiled for the Raiders’ first preseason game in early to mid-August.