Quarterback Derek Carr questioning the fandom of those who don’t support the team in Las Vegas will likely do little to deter a significant portion of football fans in the Bay Area from shunning his team, opening up the possibility for the San Francisco 49ers to take advantage of the Raiders move to Las Vegas.
While it may have seemed like a joke to some, 49ers general manager John Lynch made this comment about the owners voting to allow the Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas:
Part of me says I think it’s good for us, Raider fans, we’re open for business. Come and jump on our train.
Despite the reality of Raiders fans being unique and die-hard in many ways, Lynch was smart to think out loud what should be an overt business strategy for the 49ers organization.
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When the 49ers first moved to Santa Clara, some thought the North and East Bay would be goldmines for the Silver and Black, but the Raiders moving to Las Vegas now leaves a huge market share for the taking.
The San Francisco Bay Area is the 6th largest TV market in the country and a few years ago a Reddit user analyzed and ranked NFL teams by media market size within a 75-mile radius from their stadium and the SF-Bay Area ranked 2nd on this list, though these number have likely changed since then.
Regardless of the exact numbers, the SF-Bay Area has a huge number of consumers, televisions and sports fans and if the 49ers were the most televised team in much of California and Nevada in 2015, they are positioned to receive even more TV time once the Raiders leave for Las Vegas.
The last time the Raiders left for Los Angeles in 1982 marked a golden era for 49ers football, with the 49ers winning 4 Super Bowls and 10 of 13 NFC West titles while the Raiders were in LA. It might seem crazy to think that the Raiders leaving for LA had anything significant to do with the 49ers success during that time, but it probably didn’t hurt.
While most die-hard Raiders fans would rather self-immolate that root for the 49ers, not all sports fans are die-hard and future sports fans will be born into a Bay Area culture that only has the 49ers as their football team.
So of course Jed York obviously voted in favor of Raiders relocation and despite him playing-off the potential gains for his organization, including more local sponsorship deals and monopolizing corporate demand for luxury boxes, he can’t be anything other than pleased with the Raiders impending move.