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Raiders mark Allegiant Stadium debut with win over Saints

The Las Vegas Raiders NFL team opened its new state-of-the-art Allegiant Stadium yesterday (Monday) with a 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints.

The 65,000-seat facility becomes the second new NFL venue to open this month after SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, staged its first game on September 13.

No Raiders fans were in attendance for the team’s home opener amid ongoing restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Raiders confirmed last month that the stadium would not welcome fans for the duration of the 2020 season.

A number of NFL teams have opened up their stadiums at limited capacities this season but the Raiders have opted to stage games behind closed doors and feel this is the fairest outcome for personal seat license holders.

A highlight of the new stadium is the Al Davis Memorial Torch, an 85-foot-tall memorial torch dedicated to the late owner of the Raiders. The torch was lit yesterday by Davis’ widow Carol, the mother of current Raiders owner Mark Davis, who is not attending games at the new stadium in solidarity with fans. It marked the first time that the torch, which is the world’s largest 3D printed structure in the world, had been lit.

Las Vegas rock band The Killers also performed at half-time during the game. “It’s our pleasure to welcome the Raiders to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada,” said lead singer Brandon Flowers.

On the field, the Raiders turned around a 10-point deficit against the Saints to open their new home with a win and maintain their 100-per-cent start to the season.

Although fans were not allowed into the stadium, a handful did converge outside of the venue to show their support from afar.

TheStadiumBusiness.com last month spoke to David Manica, president and owner of MANICA Architecture, to get the lowdown on the design of the Raiders’ new $1.9bn (£1.5bn/€1.6bn) home.

The Raiders recently announced that Allegiant Stadium will become the first venue in US pro sports to open as a cashless facility once fans are allowed to attend.

The Raiders were formerly based in Oakland, California and played their home games at the Coliseum.

Image: Allegiant Stadium