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When the Raiders make their Las Vegas debut for the 2020 NFL season, they’ll take the field at brand-new Allegiant Stadium in Paradise. And while the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could ultimately limit the new venue’s capacity throughout the fall, Raiders coach Jon Gruden thinks any fans who do get a chance to check out the team’s new stomping grounds will be very impressed.
Delivering a recent message to stadium workers, who are wrapping up construction on the $2 billion complex, Gruden was effusive in his praise of Allegiant Stadium, which will replace the Oakland Coliseum as the Raiders’ home turf.
“I just have to tell you, the stadium looks freaking awesome,” Gruden said. “It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. And I just want to congratulate all you workers for an incredible accomplishment during adversity. It’s the two-minute drill. You’ve done 99 percent of the work, maybe 97 percent of the work. I just challenge you to finish like a champion.”
As NFL.com noted, Allegiant Stadium kicked off construction in November 2017 and is set to house 65,000 fans at full capacity.
It seems unlikely the Raiders will welcome anywhere close to that number of fans if/when the 2020 season begins, however. Team owner Mark Davis was adamant this summer that the Raiders are “not ready to give up yet” in the face of COVID-19 and plan to “do everything we can to see that all our fans are able to attend every game this season.” But Davis also acknowledged the Raiders would follow local guidance in terms of seating restrictions, suggesting the club could even cut out fan attendance entirely, if necessary.