As the team’s departure approaches, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf is contending that the Raiders did not negotiate a new stadium deal in good faith before announcing a move to Las Vegas.
After lobbying for a new stadium throughout much of 2016, the Raiders had their plan to relocate to Las Vegas approved by the NFL in the spring of 2017. That cleared the way for them to move forward with plans for a new $1.8-billion Las Vegas stadium, which is currently under construction and slated to open prior to the 2020 NFL season.
The new Las Vegas facility will allow the Raiders to leave the aging Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Before the move to Las Vegas was announced, there was some discussion about building a new stadium in Oakland as part of a larger development plan at the Coliseum site. That proposal called for the City of Oakland to contribute $200 million for infrastructure improvements at the Coliseum site, accommodating a new football-only stadium that would anchor a mixed-use development from a group that included Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.
However, that proposal never gained much traction with the Raiders. Schaaf, who has been Mayor of Oakland since 2014 and is favored to win a second term on Tuesday, was recently asked about the negotiations with the Raiders. In an interview with Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, Schaaf was clear in her belief that the Raiders never negotiated in good faith with her administration:
My question to the mayor: Do you think the Raiders made a good-faith effort to stay in Oakland?
“Hell, no!” Schaaf shot back. “Unequivocally no. There was no good faith there at all.”
So owner Mark Davis seemed dead set on moving his team to Vegas?
“Dead set. No effort whatsoever. I can’t speak to the time before I was mayor, and I want to recognize that the Raiders, I think when I came in as mayor there was a lot of years of legitimate frustration that they were feeling, (but) during my time as mayor, no good-faith efforts were made. No.”
Oakland’s sports scene has been in a state of flux, as the NBA’s Golden State Warriors will move to a new arena in San Francisco next year and MLB’s A’s continue to search for a new ballpark. The A’s currently share the Coliseum with the Raiders, but the two clubs have really worked together on their separate efforts to construct new facilities. Another issue in Oakland was that the Raiders and owner Mark Davis were never really on board with the idea of redeveloping the parking lot surrounding the Coliseum, while the Las Vegas Stadium deal included $750 million in public funding.
The short-term future of the Raiders is unclear at this point. Although the team had been in discussions about extending its Coliseum lease to cover the 2019 season, several uncertainties in Oakland–including the threat of antitrust lawsuit by the city against the Raiders and the NFL–have reportedly contributed to the Raiders weighing their options to play home games elsewhere next season.
As for Schaaf and Oakland officials, their priority as far as sports is concerned is currently on keeping the A’s. The team is weighing the Coliseum property and waterfront Howard Terminal as potential options for a new ballpark site.