The Oakland Raiders have one of the more eventful histories among professional sports franchises. The team, founded in Oakland in 1960, left for the big city in 1982- Los Angeles. But, 12 years later, they would pack their bags and return home. Now, unhappy with their stadium, the Raiders have plans to move to Las Vegas for the 2019 season. Through all of this, Raiders fans have been tasked with staying with a team that seems to constantly challenge their loyalty. The problem that not many see is that the Raiders have never had a stadium of their own. While fans may see it as an abandonment, the Raiders might just be looking for a home. Be it anger over relocation or a desire to start winning again, Raiders fans have found a way to remain some of the most rowdy and electric fans in the league. With a history like the Raiders’, it would be impossible to not have masses of out-of-market fans. Raiders fans don’t just sit around and complain. Rather, they have established hubs across the country that unite fans to root for their favorite team together.
The Raiders understand that they have put some fans out over the years, and they have taken steps to keep all of their fans informed and engaged. The Raiders have a “Fan Zone” on their website that provides information about how to stay involved. This includes a reward system, newsletter, and other tools like an app and wallpapers to keep fans in the loop. Additionally, they have their own database of official Raiders booster clubs. These are clubs that the Raiders officially recognize, which are required to pay dues to the team for use of their logo as well as complete charity work. Still, there are numerous local fan clubs that have not registered with the organization. Beyond their website, the Raiders are heavily involved in social media with 1.59 million Twitter followers, 1.3 million Instagram followers, and 3.4 million likes on Facebook, perhaps unsurprisingly some of the more impressive social stats in the league.
The Raiders fan base, appropriately named Raiders Nation, is as widespread as it gets. More specifically, “The Black Hole,” a Raiders fan network, has chapters as close as Oakland and as far as the UK. The first and possibly most popular chapter is in New York City, a devoted fan group that gained popularity after being profiled by SBNation. Since its inception in 1991, Black Hole chapters have popped up everywhere and united the Raiders fan front. Raiders fan clubs are a staple for Raiders Nation because, with such a widespread group, fans need to stay connected.
FanWide’s own fan club network has accounted for 75 Raiders fan clubs and over 100,000 fans. Each week, FanWide can direct fans to any number of watch parties in their area. This feature is necessary for fans who have been left behind and it’s something Oakland residents might need to take advantage of in the coming years.
The Raiders are gearing up for the future. After pulling Jon Gruden (a familiar face) out of coaching retirement and slapping a record 10 year 100 million dollar contract on his desk, the Raiders expect that their best years are ahead. As they head to their new city, they hope to absorb some of its charms and put the league on notice (something they came close to doing a few years back). An interesting projection is that by moving to Vegas, the Raiders will increase their aggregate fan base. They will gain a new, local group of fans while retaining many fans from their previous city. Additionally, when people without a specific team affiliation (including international sports fans) visit Vegas, a tourist hub, and go to a game, they will then carry that fandom with them, continuing their support of the team back home. With a new city, a new coach, and a fresh start, the Raiders will need their fans behind them if they want to succeed. Will a Raiders fan club have what it takes to make it to the top?
FanWide, the world’s largest fan club network, is running a competition to identify the top pro football fan club in the country. Do you think your Oakland Raiders fan club can be named the nation’s Top Football Fan Club? Visit https://fanwi.de/TFFC to learn more and enter. The grand prize includes an athlete appearance at one of your fan club’s upcoming events! #TopFootballFanClub