Lately, the most exciting game in the East Bay has been watching events surrounding the Oakland Raiders unfold. For months, the Raiders have tried to negotiate for a new home with the National Football League, making a big play for relocating to Los Angeles. But after they failed to convince the NFL to let them move (the St. Louis Rams got the nod to head to Southern California), they have just announced they plan to stay in Oakland for the 2016 season. And, in a classic case of "love the one you are with" they signed a lease that commits to this year and has options for two more seasons.
According to the Oakland Tribune, the agreement buys the team and city and county officials time to work things out. Namely, the team's owner, Mark Davis, wants to build a new stadium to replace O.Co Coliseum (and he's hired Larry MacNeil, the deal architect for Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, to help get the job done). Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wants to find a way to make the team happy without sticking taxpayers with the bill.
The Tribune reports that the cost for a new stadium would be in the neighborhood of $900 million. Davis has pledged $300 million and the NFL has agreed to kick in an additional $300 million, and that equals not enough money to get the hammers swinging.
During a press conference announcing the new lease, Davis punted the problem toward the Oakland A's, who also play in the Coliseum, suggesting they should cooperate in a plan to build two stadiums on the site. He said: "They need to commit ASAP so we can go ahead and design, take down the Coliseum...and two teams will come back in and play in two brand new stadiums."
And, just in time for Valentine's Day, the newspaper account says Davis had some loving words for the city where the team is still based: "I don't think I've ever once said I wasn't interested in Oakland. My heart is here," he said.
· Officials Announce Future Raider [Official Site]