OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — By this time next year, the Oakland Raiders may no longer be playing at O.co Coliseum.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has announced the team has no plans to extend its Coliseum lease which expires after this season.
The Raiders have been talking with San Antonio officials about the possibility of playing in the Alamodome and a joint training camp session with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard drew legions of Silver and Black fans imploring the Raiders to return to Los Angeles.
Davis’ assertion the team would not pursue a lease extension in Oakland was troubling to die-hard Raider fans gathering to tailgate at the Coliseum more than 24 hours before Friday’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
“That’d suck. I’d be pissed,” said Raider fan Steven Corbett.
“Put the differences aside and come together so we can start making Oakland better,” said ‘Godfather’ Griz Jones of the fan club 66th M.O.B. (Making Oakland Better).
Some people, like former sports executive Andy Dolich, think it’s part of the negotiating tactics – Davis playing offense as he tries to get the best deal in building a new stadium.
“Football games are played through four quarters…doesn’t matter what you do in the first few plays,” said Dolich.” We’re not even through halftime in terms how this will all work out.”
Three potential options for the Raiders:
The NFL wants the team to share Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, who are apparently open to the idea. But Davis says no way, he wants his own stadium.
The second option is the aging Los Angeles Coliseum. But despite a lot of talk about welcoming the Raiders back to the second-largest media market, L.A. isn’t throwing any tax dollars behind the move or a new stadium.
Most people believe the Raiders will ultimately stay in Oakland – perhaps playing in a new stadium as part of a proposed Coliseum City project.
Sources say Mark Davis got upset after Oakland prioritized the Athletics over the Raiders by signing a 10-year extension.
“It’s all about the money,” said Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo.“It’s all about a new stadium, who’s going to pay for the new stadium.”
“I know kickoff will be in Oakland next year, the year after and many years to come,” said Dolich.
The Coliseum authority still owes $120 million for bringing the Raiders back to a refurbished Oakland Coliseum from Los Angeles in 1995.
Sources say Oakland leaders will be sitting down with Raiders executives next week to continue their negotiations on a new stadium deal.