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NFL Still Looking to Oakland for Raiders Proposal

O.Co Coliseum, Oracle Arena

The NFL is set to consider a proposed relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, but there appears to be some sentiment for keeping them in Oakland. 

As we covered last week, there are some striking differences between the plans in Las Vegas and Oakland. Whereas the State of Nevada has already approved $750 million in public funds for a $1.9 billion stadium project in Las Vegas, funding for a stadium in Oakland is still up for discussion. Oakland officials are working on a partnership with a group of investors that includes Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, and the agreement could lead to a football-only stadium for the Raiders and surrounding development at the site of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

However, as she has pledged all along, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said last week that Oakland’s plan will not seek to match Las Vegas’ public contribution. The reduced public funding, and the fact that the plan itself is still pending, leaves some questions as to whether Oakland can find enough support within the NFL’s ranks to keep the Raiders

One person who has least given Oakland some public boosts is commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell has previously stated that he would like to see the team stay in Oakland, and some reports indicate that he might be willing to wait and see what Oakland has to offer. There are also some signs that he may prefer the market to Las Vegas More from CBS Sports:

The league continues to explore several stadium options in the Bay Area, however, with commissioner Roger Goodell among those who prefer the Oakland market, sources said. Eric Grubman, the NFL executive vice president in charge of stadium issues, addressed the owners briefly during the meeting, sources said, noting the superior business and corporate infrastructure in Oakland and the growing trend of tech companies relocating from the Silicon Valley to downtown Oakland.

It was clear to other owners that Davis has some solid support for his stadium, which includes $750 million in public funding, but others are less than convinced the move would be in the best interest of the entire league. Goodell told the owners there is much the NFL still needs to investigate, both about the Vegas deal and potential deals in Oakland, before a vote on the matter should be considered.

“I would expect the league to delay any vote for as long as possible,” one ownership source said. “Mark is adamant that they are gone, but the league isn’t in any rush to bring this to a head.”

The NFL would not be alone in its optimism about the Oakland market. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has expressed his desire to see the A’s stay in Oakland, and is encouraging the team to intensify its pursuit of a new ballpark in the city.

The dynamics in the NFL, however, are a little bit different. Raiders owner Mark Davis made it clear from the beginning that if/when he received a commitment of funds, he would ask the NFL’s permission to relocate. The Raiders will need 24 of 32 owners to sign off on the Las Vegas move to make it official, and some–including the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft and Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones–already look to be in Las Vegas’ corner.

The league, meanwhile, is in the process of studying the Las Vegas market. Depending upon its outcome, the results of that study could be used by Goodell and the rest of the NFL to leverage an argument for Oakland. Ultimately that still relies on Oakland to finalize its plan which if it is announced in the next few weeks, as previously stated by Schaaf, could add another layer to the discussion surrounding the Raiders. It has previously been anticipated that Davis would seek the league’s formal approval to relocate in January, allowing the new Las Vegas stadium to open by 2019.

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