SoCal stadium plan lights fire under Oakland
Oakland and Alameda County leaders expressed optimism Friday that they can keep the Raiders in Oakland even though the football team is considering a proposal to partner with the San Diego Chargers to build a new stadium in the Los Angeles area.
Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid said Raiders President Marc Badain called him Thursday night shortly after the potential stadium deal in Carson, 15 miles south of Los Angeles, was made public and assured him that:
“Raiders owner Mark Davis and the Raiders are committed to doing a deal in the city of Oakland.”
Reid said Badain told him that the team is looking into the possibility of building a stadium in Carson because “they had to explore other options in case a deal isn’t done” to build a new football stadium in Oakland.
The Raiders’ lease at the aging O.co Coliseum expires at the end of the year. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, the board that oversees the operations of the sports facilities at the Coliseum site, was scheduled to vote on a one-year lease Friday but the vote was postponed for two weeks because city of Oakland officials weren’t ready to sign off on it.
The Raiders and Chargers said in a joint statement issued Thursday night that they are still looking at options in their respective current cities but have been unsuccessful so far. The teams said:
“We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises.”
The Raiders and Chargers were scheduled to hold a news conference today at the site of the proposed stadium, which would be on a 168-acre site off of Interstate Highway 580.
Scott McKibben, who was approved today to be the new executive director of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, said he’s “optimistic” that there will be “some sort of resolution” which result in building a new football stadium that will keep the Raiders in Oakland.
McKibben said the Raiders’ announcement that they’re looking at the possibility of moving to Carson “may be a message of urgency” that a deal needs to be completed in Oakland soon. He said, “The Raiders have a business to run and are looking out for their interests but moving isn’t what owners want to do” if they can work out deals to stay where they are.
Oakland school board member Chris Dobbins, who’s on the Coliseum Authority’s board, said he was “surprised and upset” when he heard the news that the Raiders are looking at moving to Carson because he’s a long-time Raiders season ticket holder. But Dobbins said, “I think Oakland is the best place for them” and he hopes the Raiders’ announcement will spur city and county officials to work out an agreement soon.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement that the city and county are in the middle of talks aimed at finding private funding to build a new stadium for the Raiders. Schaaf said the Raiders are “in full negotiation mode” which she said means they are “publicly exploring all of their options as part of the process.”
“I remain focused on delivering a deal that works for the Raiders, the fans and the taxpayers. Oakland deserves nothing less.”