The Oakland Raiders’ lease for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has been approved by NFL owners, ensuring the team’s 2019 return.
After the City of Oakland filed an antitrust lawsuit against the team and the NFL in December, there was uncertainty over where the Raiders would play the 2019 season. Considerable speculation surfaced that–without a lease for the Oakland Coliseum beyond 2018–the Raiders could play their home games elsewhere next season, but steady progress has been made this month on an agreement that allows the team to remain in Oakland.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Raiders will play home games at the Coliseum in 2019 with an option for 2020–a contingency in the event that construction of their new Las Vegas stadium falls behind schedule. The Raiders’ Oakland Coliseum lease had received local approvals, and was OK’d by NFL owners in a unanimous vote during Monday’s league meetings in Phoenix. More from ESPN:
“It was unanimous. There was almost an abstention,” cracked Raiders owner Mark Davis.
Davis was assuredly referencing his team’s history, under his late father, Al, of abstaining during league votes. Davis would not call winning the right to return to Oakland a victory, or a defeat.
“I’m not saying it’s a victory,” Davis said. “It’s not a victory at all. It’s a result of a many number of things. That’s what it is. But it’s going to be an exciting season. We’re happy about it. There’s no ill will or anything like that. [Oakland] made a tough, tough deal but they’re allowed to. That’s what negotiations are.”
Winning the owners’ vote was the final step in a lengthy process to ensure the team remained in Oakland, where it called the Coliseum home from 1966 through 1981 and from 1995 to present. The Oakland City Council, Alameda Board of Supervisors and Coliseum Authority all had to approve the lease first.
The agreement will result in the Raiders playing seven of their eight 2019 regular-season home games at the Coliseum. The other contest is scheduled for London, where the Raiders will take on the Chicago Bears.
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