The aging Oakland Coliseum, in existence since 1966, is currently shared by MLB's Oakland Athletics and the NFL's Oakland Raiders. With the Raiders' stadium lease expiring last year, they came close to leaving town for a second time - their first stint in Oakland was from 1960-1981 before relocating to Los Angeles in the midst of a fight over stadium improvements, before moving back to Oakland in 1995 - but the team signed an eleventh-hour lease extension through this season.
But here we go again: the team is looking to relocate after a failure to - you guessed it - come to terms to either significantly improve their 50-year-old building or build a new stadium altogether. And that may involve an eventual move to Las Vegas. Raiders owner Mark Davis made a significant move toward that possibility today as he pledged $500 million toward the construction of a $1.3 billion stadium in Vegas.
What does that have to do with MLS, though? Well, one of the men at today's UNLV press conference was none other than David Beckham.
"To bring a great organization like the Raiders to Las Vegas is incredible," Beckham said. "But it's bigger than that. It's about the MLS coming here. It's about bringing the biggest European teams here ... As a soccer player, to be able to come on an offseason trip to Vegas, to America, that's what you want as a player."
The interesting part about this isn't so much the fact that Las Vegas is on MLS's radar. The city bid on an expansion franchise in 2015 but was turned down as a plan for a soccer-specific stadium didn't come together. What's interesting about it is that Beckham is campaigning for the league to enter the city. What does that say about the new Miami franchise? The Miami ownership group, which Beckham is a part of, purchased a plot of land in South Florida for the construction of a soccer-specific stadium just this past March. But plans from construction are far from finalized, which appears to suggest that if the Las Vegas project gathers steam much quicker, it's likely that Beckham could cash out of the Miami group and join Davis and other investors for a Las Vegas franchise if a potential bid is approved.
Of course, nothing is set in stone in any city right now, so it's nothing more than a wait-and-see situation. But Beckham may have given himself a fall-back plan if things in South Florida fall through.