The inaugural season for the Las Vegas Raiders is on the horizon after a highly publicized relocation. The question remains: Will the desert oasis replicate the Bay Area environment the Black Hole previously fueled?
Home games in the Black Hole within the confines of the Raiders’ old home, the Oakland Coliseum, were wondrous experiences. Unfortunately, if you didn’t get to experience it as a fan, you missed out. Nothing can replicate the fanaticism, excitement, and overall scope of being in the Black Hole.
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This isn’t a knock on Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or Mexico City, which have all held “home games” previously. Rather, it’s telling of how the Bay Area and the Black Hole were intertwined. Even with many of the regulars who populated that seating area getting season tickets, the Black Hole as we all know it won’t be making the trip. Raiders President Marc Badain, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal spoke on the issue. Earlier this year he said, â€œA lot of the folks that sit in the Black Hole in Oakland bought tickets in the south end zone at Allegiant. Whether that happens organically, we’ll see what happens.”
Raiders: Gorilla Rilla
Mark Acasio, a ‘superfan’ also known as Gorilla Rilla, recently shed some insight on his own experience with regards to the transition. Originally speaking with The Guardian, Acasio said he hasn’t missed a home game in 25 years and isn’t going to start in Las Vegas. â€œOn the other hand, many other friends of mine have not, and will not, step foot in Las Vegas.” The financial implications of the move translated into a detriment for many die-hard fans, insane ticket prices and PSL’s that were unfeasible meant many won’t be making the trip.
The Raiders fan club, also known as The Black Hole, has its mother chapter back in the Bay Area. Co-founder Rob Rivera also spoke with The Guardian, â€œThe move has broken our hearts, pissed us off. They proved loyalty is a one-way street in the NFL.”
There’s no way of knowing what the atmosphere will be like in Las Vegas, we don’t even know the ramifications of this current pandemic in regards to sporting events. Raider Nation will make its presence known in Allegiant Stadium, no doubt about that. It will be a different presence than the Bay Area. After all, Las Vegas is a tourist destination. Fans from all over the country will travel to see their teams play. Who can blame them? Las Vegas is a lot of fun. That said, the blue-collar, edgy, imposing, and at times, downright scary prospect of playing in the Coliseum will never be recreated. If the end came for the Black Hole with the relocation, it will have been the end of an era.
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*Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press