Vegas NFL team draws fans away from Utah?

Posted at 10:24 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 00:24:43-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Is the University of Utah's consecutive football home sellout streak at risk? The program that's posted 38 straight sell-outs and touts nearly one-thousand additional fans on a season-ticket waiting list announced Monday that it's rolling out a fan study.

"We need to study that if there's an NFL team in Las Vegas, does that affect us here?" asked U of U Athletic Directer Chris Hill.

Hill said the study will take a couple months and may impact whether or not the University plans to repair and possibly even expand Rice-Eccles Stadium. The South end of the stands is in need of repair having last been worked on in the 1990's.

But does Monday's vote by NFL Owners to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas mean that college football fans throughout the state may ditch their college tickets for NFL tickets? After all, having season tickets to both can be overwhelming, both in terms of time and money.

"I don’t see that, people bleed the U," said Jessica Nelson, a U of U worker. "They love this place.”

A U of U student, David Tran, agreed with a question.

"Have you seen our student section?" said Tran.

Fans of the U of U campus seem to be in agreement that they won't abandoned their college tickets for NFL tickets, but not every college football season ticket holder in the state went to school in Utah. Some inherited teams after moving here.

BYU Assistant Athletic Director Duff Tittle seems to think an NFL team moving to Vegas is a great thing for college football in the state. Speaking to him on the phone Monday evening, he pointed out that BYU has scheduled a handful of neutral site games over the years, including two at NFL stadiums in Phoenix and in Maryland last year. Additionally, Tittle points out that BYU's second biggest fan base outside of Utah, is in Southern California. Neutral site games in Las Vegas could be a great in-between.

Jeff Robbins with the Utah Sports Commission points out that games in Las Vegas could lead to great vacation packages for fans in Utah and across the country. He believes the addition of the stadium will give fans an experience unrivaled in any other state or sport.

But what about Salt Lake City? Does an NFL team in a smaller market like Las Vegas mean Salt Lake's chances have just improved? Max Roth breaks down why Utah's chances aren't likely.