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Quan Leads Downtown Oakland Rally To Keep Sports Teams

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Oakland Mayor Jean Quan poses with Raider fans at a rally before the opening day loss to San Diego (CBS)

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan poses with Raider fans at a rally before the opening day loss to San Diego (CBS)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Mayor Jean Quan on Wednesday led the latest in a series of rallies aimed at convincing her city’s three sports team to stay in town.

As part of “Oakland Loves Our Sports Teams” week, Quan handed out posters promoting that message to people who passed through the busy City Center shopping area in downtown Oakland during the lunch hour.

At the end of the rally, which included a boisterous musical performance by the California Honeydrops, Quan said the sports teams week, which began with a rally at the Raiders football game Monday and will end with another rally at the A’s baseball game Friday night, “is going very well.”

Quan said the Raiders’ game against San Diego on Monday night, which was carried on national television, was “a technical sellout” because more than 85 percent of the tickets to the contest at the O.co Coliseum were sold. She said that 85 percent level or better is also expected to be reached at the Raiders’ next two home games.

The mayor said the A’s game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night is close to a sellout, with only 200 tickets available at this point, and Oakland native Andre Ward’s successful super middleweight title fight at the Oracle Arena drew more fans than had been expected.

At a kickoff rally in front of City Hall back on Aug. 27, Quan said the sports week is part of “a grassroots movement” to keep the A’s, the Raiders and the Warriors basketball team in Oakland.

Some Oakland fans fear that the city could lose all three teams in the near future because A’s owner Lew Wolff has said he wants to move the team to San Jose, the Warriors announced in May that they want to build a new arena in San Francisco by 2017 and there are reports that the Raiders are considering moving to Los Angeles.

Quan said at the Aug. 27 rally that the city is still negotiating with all three teams but declined to provide details of the talks.

Quan said that in addition to trying to convince the owners of the three sports teams to stay in Oakland, the purpose of the sports teams week is to demonstrate to the leaders of the professional baseball, football and basketball organizations that the city strongly supports its teams.

The mayor has been busy supporting the teams every day this week, as she attended the Raiders game Monday night and passed out rally cards in Oakland’s Temescal district during the noon hour on Tuesday.

On Thursday night, Quan will participate in a “Stadium Aid” fundraising drive, mixer and fan celebration at Ricky’s Sports Theatre and Grill in San Leandro. The event is sponsored by a group called SaveOaklandSports that is trying to keep the three teams in Oakland.

In addition to Quan, among those expected to attend are San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy, San Ramon Vice Mayor Jim Livingstone, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell, former Raiders players John Vella, Barry Sims, Josh Taves and Kenny Shedd.

SaveOaklandSports leaders said they hope the mixer will be the first in a series of events to raise funds to help support or contribute to new stadiums for the three sports teams and/or community projects associated with new stadiums.

They said all proceeds will go toward an Oakland Stadium Fund but if the teams decide not to build new stadiums in Oakland all proceeds will be applied to East Bay community charitable projects.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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