Oakland mayor confirms private funding framework for Raiders stadium

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she has reached an agreement with a private investor group on a framework to fund a new stadium for the Oakland Raiders and is hoping it can prevent the team from moving to Las Vegas.

Schaaf confirmed at a news conference this afternoon that she is working with a business group headed up by former Raiders and San Francisco 49ers player Ronnie Lott. The Lott group, she said, has the upfront capital to fund a new stadium.

The access to capital has long been a sticking point in negotiations with the Raiders. Raiders owner Mark Davis has pledged only $500 million toward construction of a new stadium but has estimated the construction cost to exceed $1 billion.

The state of Nevada has pledged up to $750 million in new hotel tax revenue to build a stadium in Las Vegas. Casino owner Sheldon Adelson has promised to contribute an additional $650 million, making it a tempting offer.

Schaaf has long opposed spending public money on a new stadium for the Raiders. Lott’s group has demonstrated a “willingness and ability to put forward the private funds that we believe it would take” to build a new stadium, the mayor said.

She said she understands that Davis is frustrated with Oakland, saying that it was her job to bring him a deal that was competitive with Nevada’s. NFL owners recently shot down a separate bid for the Raiders to move back to the Los Angeles area and share a stadium with the San Diego Chargers.

The Raiders did not immediately respond to a request for comment today but Davis is aware of the framework, according to Schaaf.

The new stadium would be on the site where the Oakland Coliseum is now. Schaaf said if approved, the deal could lead to improvements in the area around the Oakland Coliseum, and create opportunity in the area and bring jobs to the city.

The land is currently jointly owned by Alameda County and the city of Oakland. Schaaf did not disclose whether the deal would involve the developer continuing to lease the land from the city or county or would be purchased outright, but said that the exchange would involve a fair market price for the property.

The plan still needs the approval of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council. The Board of Supervisors took up the matter during a closed session today, according to Schaaf, while the Oakland City Council will consider it during closed session on Nov. 29.

The soonest it might be discussed publicly at a City Council meeting is Dec. 13, Schaaf said.

“This is one small step in a complicated deal,” she said.

Time is of the essence, since the Raiders could move forward with the Las Vegas deal if they get approval from three-fourths of NFL owners next year. However, exactly when the owners might take up the issue remains unclear.