OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Raiders officials on Wednesday rescinded a rent offer that would have kept the team playing at the Oakland Coliseum for the 2019 season in response to the federal antitrust lawsuit being filed by the city of Oakland.
The decision by the team means that the Christmas Eve game at the Coliseum against the Denver Broncos could be the last game the Raiders play at the venue.
“We have to say goodbye next week and that’s going to hurt,” said Raiders season ticket holder Doug Kugler. “I look forward to seeing them every Sunday, and it’s not going to be the same.”
But not all Raiders fans believe the team’s threat.
Reggie Green said the move wouldn’t make sense.
“I think it’s a bluff,” he said. “Your headquarters are here, your practice facility is here, so you got to think of those logistics.”
KPIX reporter Phil Matier confirmed with the Coliseum executive director that the team has now rescinded a rent offer for a reported $7.5 million to play at the stadium in Oakland during the 2019 season.
The NFL said the Raiders must decide on a new home for 2019 in the next month or two. The team’s new stadium in Las Vegas is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2020 season.
“It’s simply about trying to make the schedule; to get confirmation. I know Mark [Davis, the Raiders owner] has expressed it. He’d like to be in Oakland,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “And we need to do that for scheduling purposes, that’s really the timing. So I would say early January, February.”
The Oakland City Attorney announced the suit late Tuesday morning.
The federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit names the NFL, the Raiders and each of the other 31 NFL clubs as defendants.
According to the federal lawsuit, the defendants violated antitrust laws by voting to approve the Raiders move to Las Vegas and boycotting Oakland as a host city. The suit additionally claims that the Raiders’ move also violated the NFL’s own policies for team relocation.
“Oakland has lost enough money to the Raiders and this lawsuit will be on a full contingency basis by the attorneys that have taken it up,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Tuesday.
The city is filing the suit alone. Alameda County and the Joint Powers Authority are not participating. Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid sits on also sits on the Joint Powers Authority board.
“We certainly would’ve wanted the JPA and the county to be a part of this, but they chose not to be,” explained Reid. “So, the fight is ours. It’s not costing us any money and hopefully there’s a decision that’s in our favor.”
The suit could accelerate the timeline for the Raiders move elsewhere before the new stadium in Las Vegas is ready. The team had indicated to the JPA if the city filed suit they wouldn’t exercise the lease option for the 2019 season in the Coliseum.
“The Raiders gotta figure out what their options are,” said Reid. “If they’re going to play at the Coliseum in 2019 or whether or not they will explore the options that they’ve been looking at.”
Those options reportedly include either San Diego or Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara according to CBS Sports.
Kugler is now preparing to not only say farewell to his team in less than two weeks, but the friends he said he’s made at the stadium.
“I think it’ll be somber; it’s going to be difficult for me,” said Kugler. “I met a lot of great people, and I probably will not see much of them anymore.”