The Oakland Raiders could yet play its final season before the move to Las Vegas at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum after talks between the two parties resumed amid the emergence of another proposed home for the NFL American football franchise’s 2019 season.
The Raiders remaining at their home for the past 24 seasons would end a saga that has seen tensions escalate as it prepares to relocate to the new $1.8bn (£1.39bn/€1.59bn) stadium currently under development in Las Vegas.
The Raiders’ current lease deal at the Coliseum expires today (Wednesday) and Scott McKibben, executive director of the Coliseum Authority, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper that discussions are ongoing over a new agreement.
“I will confirm that we, late last week, started sitting down and talking with the Raiders about the potential of a 2019 season deal,” McKibben said. “In my view, the discussions have been meaningful and productive.”
This development comes after the Raiders in December opted to withdraw a lease proposal to continue playing at the Coliseum. The decision by the Raiders came in response to the earlier news that the City of Oakland had filed a federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the National Football League, the Raiders and each of the other 31 NFL clubs, claiming compensation for the “cartel” actions that have led to its home franchise relocating to Las Vegas.
The Raiders had held a year-to-year lease with Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority to play at the stadium. This deal was worth $3.5m for the 2018 season and was reportedly due to go up to $7.5m for the final campaign before the team’s relocation.
The Review-Journal, citing another person familiar with the situation, said the latest talks will likely result in a 41st season for the Raiders at the Coliseum. Should an agreement be reached in the coming days, a lease could reportedly be approved later this month at a public meeting.
Raiders owner Mark Davis last week emphasised his preference for the team to remain in the Bay Area for 2019. The team has also been linked with moves to Levi’s Stadium, home of rival NFL franchise the San Francisco 49ers, and Oracle Park, which plays host to Major League Baseball (MLB) team the San Francisco Giants.
The Arizona Daily Star newspaper yesterday (Tuesday) reported that the city of Tucson was partnering with Birmingham, Alabama to present a rival offer to the Raiders. The Star reported that the two cities would seek to split the hosting duties between the 57,400-capacity Arizona Stadium and Birmingham’s 71,500-capacity Legion Field.
The newspaper added that Birmingham city council president pro tem William Parker and Tucson attorney Ali Farhang were optimistic that a combined effort would lead to more solid talks between Davis and the cities.
Image: Oakland Raiders