This coming September was expected to be special for the Las Vegas Raiders and their new fans in the desert metropolis. The Raiders had just relocated from Northern California and were set to open up the brand-new Allegiant Stadium in front of tens of thousands of fans.
Things have obviously changed since then. The COVID-19 pandemic, which started to plague the United States this past spring, has forced the Raiders into deciding to play games without fans this coming season.
Three Raiders fans have now decided to sue the country of China and other leaders within the nation for their alleged mishandling of the virus and the end result of not being able to attend Raiders games this fall, as David Ferrara of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes:
“Las Vegas lawyer William Schuller wants China to pay for his Raiders season tickets. He argues in a federal lawsuit that the country lied about and mishandled the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, the capital city of the Hubei province. Schuller demanded that he and his clients Larry Cohen and Elizabeth Cohen be reimbursed for the tickets and the fun they would have had watching football games at Allegiant Stadium.”
The handling of COVID-19 by China has obviously been a contentious issue since that country first saw an outbreak of the virus late last year. That’s not necessarily the point here. There’s going to be investigations. The contentious debate will continue, as it should.
However, this lawsuit is strange. Schuller wrote in the complaint:
"The decision to play the Las Vegas Raiders 2020 inaugural season without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic deprived Plaintiffs of the opportunity to see the first games the storied Raiders franchise played in Las Vegas and to see some of the greatest NFL players in person."
As of Wednesday afternoon, north of 165,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 after the virus made its way from China. But we’re focusing on a lawsuit because two fans can’t enjoy football games in a stadium?
As for the sports world, this is a major backdrop with the 2020 NFL regular season set to get going in less than a month. The inability to host fans at venues throughout the league is going to have wide-ranging financial ramifications, especially when it comes to a downturn in terms of revenue.
That’s no more true than with the Raiders. They are expected to lose north of $550 million in revenue without fans being able to attend games during the 2020 season.