NFL American football team the Oakland Raiders yesterday (Monday) broke ground on its new state-of-the-art stadium in Las Vegas.
The 65,000-seat, $1.9bn (£1.4bn/€1.6bn) stadium is scheduled to open in 2020. The opening ceremony was attended by celebrities, former players, NFL officials and Nevada politicians.
The ceremony started after sunset and began with a tribute to the victims of the October 1 shooting in Las Vegas, with 58 beams of light having been projected into the sky.
The Raiders agreed a deal to acquire land for the new stadium back in May. The stadium will be built west of the Mandalay Bay resort.
The Raiders’ relocation from California to Nevada was approved by NFL franchise owners in March. The team is scheduled to stay in Oakland for the remainder of the 2017 season and the 2018 campaign. A decision on its home ground for the 2019 season will be made nearer the time, with the new venue slated to be ready the following year.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “It will be seen around the world as a reflection of the spirit of Las Vegas: a resilient city on the rise. This is a very significant day in the franchise’s storied history and a tangible symbol of the team’s future in Las Vegas.”
Goodell, along with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Raiders owner Mark Davis, came together to dig the first scoops of dirt on the stadium site.
“Now it’s real, right?” Sandoval said.
Raiders’ new stadium project is one of 40+ new stadium projects in attendance at the annual TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit taking place in Barcelona next month (28-29 November).