Raiders eye desert millions as Oakland holds out hope

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Monday night she remains hopeful that the Raiders will stay in Oakland even as the Nevada state Legislature is considering a proposal to spend $750 million in hotel tax money to help finance a new stadium for the football team in Las Vegas.

The Nevada Legislature began a special meeting on that topic Monday but no action was taken and the session will continue on Tuesday.

Schaaf said, “We remain focused on working out a responsible deal to keep the Raiders in Oakland” that wouldn’t include any direct public funding for a new football stadium in her city.

But Schaaf admitted that it’s “very difficult” to get the Raiders to focus on the possibility of building a new stadium that would keep them in Oakland for the long term while they’re busy exploring the idea of moving to Las Vegas if a new stadium is built there.

The Raiders signed a lease extension agreement in April that keeps the team at the Oakland Coliseum at least through the end of this year and possibly for two additional years.

But Raiders owner Mark Davis has had a wandering eye in recent years, first exploring the possibility of moving the team to San Antonio and then making a serious bid to build a new stadium in the Los Angeles area and move the team there. That proposal was rejected by National Football League owners at a meeting in January.

Schaaf said Oakland officials haven’t met with Davis much recently but she said they’ve met with real estate executive Larry MacNeil, who was hired by the Raiders in February to work on the possibility of building a new stadium in Oakland.

Schaaf said city officials also met several weeks ago with National Football League Executive Vice President Eric Grubman, the league’s point man for stadium issues, franchise retentions and relocations.

Schaaf said:

“We believe we have a shared identity and a shared destiny (with the Raiders) and we want to build a new stadium that is feasible and responsible.”