OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — There is a glimmer of hope for Oakland Raiders fans in light of threats to take their team away thanks to a significant development in the quest to get a new stadium built in Oakland.
At Saturday’s first home game of the season there was plenty of enthusiasm and jubilation. Still, it was hard to ignore the anger toward team owner Mark Davis for trying to move the team to Las Vegas.
“I have a lot of mixed emotions,” says one fan who goes by the name of Dr. Death. “I’m just coming to enjoy the players and the color on the field.”
Diehard fans like him are cautiously optimistic about a new partnership between Oakland, Alameda County and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told KPIX 5 that Lott signed an agreement on Friday to spend the next 90 days working on a stadium plan. Lott and his group want to buy the coliseum site. An appraiser is working on how much the land is worth.
“I’m excited about working with Ronnie Lott,” said Schaaf. “His star power is going to help us galvanize support from the business community which is very critical for our success.”
The idea is that Lott would build a stadium for the Raiders and in return own a small percentage of the team.
“That’s a landmark deal possibly for the NFL to finally have black ownership for a league that’s at least 70% black.”
Griz Jones, founder of Forever Oakland agrees.
“Ronnie has assembled a team that has NFL savvy. He has people in the team that’ve built stadiums.”
But Mark Davis isn’t sitting on the sidelines. Earlier this week, the team filed an application to trademark the name, “Las Vegas Raiders.”
Las Vegas city leaders also released an animation of a stadium just off the strip.
That’s got loyal Raiders fans fired up, ready to tackle the owner.
“The Bay Area did not fail Mark Davis! Mark Davis failed the Bay Area and the loyal fan base,” says Dr. Death.
Politics and drama aside, many fans just came out to have a good time Saturday.