ALAMEDA — Oakland Raiders principal owner Mark Davis introduced new head coach Jack Del Rio Friday afternoon. Afterward, he spoke to members of the local media about all things Raiders.
Naturally, the stadium situation was one of them. Asked whether the organization is still eyeing Los Angeles, or anywhere else, Davis said:
“Think always about A, B and C as options but we’re trying to be here. We want to be here. We’re not using any other place, city or whatever, as leverage. It’s not that way.”
Mark Badain was announced to have been promoted to team president, and will be handling stadium negotiations. Badain previously served as Chief Operating Officer.
Davis pledged that Badain will handle the stadium situation, and that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year lease at the current site that will need renegotiating after the next season. All that remains is a vote by the city of Oakland and Coliseum authority.
Davis hasn’t been shy about his continued effort to build a stadium, whether it’s in Oakland, or somewhere else. He also said the team could play in Santa Clara, at Levi’s Stadium — only if the Raiders reach the Super Bowl in 2016:
“It’s known that no matter what we do here, it will not be as valuable or economically as great for the Raiders as if we went somewhere else. That’s known. But we still want to be here.”
He could have made plans to move to L.A. and have no issue finding the money for a stadium. He’s pledged $500 million towards building in Oakland, and needs a corporate partner to meet him halfway. Some of the money pledged is from the NFL, the rest from the Raiders.
Levi’s Stadium cost $1.3 billion to complete and the 49ers sold very expensive seat licenses — as much as $80,000 per seat, before tickets — to help build it.
Davis says he doesn’t want to build something like Levi’s, a building that was touted as a high-tech look into the future with football only a part of the fun. Davis just wants the football, and he has held the tone for over a year that he wants it in Oakland.
But what Davis wants is something that will need to be wanted by the other movers-and-shakers in and around Oakland. Someone like the new mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf. Davis held a recent conversation with Schaaf, one he says was a positive one:
“I thought it was good. She’s bright and she’s looking out for the city, as she should. So we’ll see if we can get something done.”
When does he have to know where his team will play in 2016? His preference is yesterday, he says, but also understands the reality of the situation. Davis reiterated that he wants to stick around so long as a resolution avails itself:
“No question about it. This season showed what our fan base is all about. I think that Thursday night game, in the rain, 0-10, and it was just phenomenal. And then the 49er game was just phenomenal. I want to give some props to people in this building. Tom Blanda working with the security people and everything else, that was a phenomenal event. Everybody enjoyed it, there were no fights, there was nothing going on. Those things need to be known about this area because everybody thinks Raider fans are this, Raider fans are that. They’re the greatest fans on Earth.”
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.