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Oakland makes last-ditch effort to keep Raiders from Vegas
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The Associated Press
With the Raiders gazing at Las Vegas and sticking one foot out the door, Oakland is making a last-minute plea to hang on to them.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on Friday shared details of investors’ plans for the first time for a stadium on the current Coliseum site, and vowed that she and the city are doing all they can to keep the team.
“We’re not giving up in the fourth quarter,” Schaaf said in a statement.
In a letter to the NFL, Schaaf shared new, detailed renderings of what the $1.3 billion, 55,000-seat football-only stadium would look like, and assured the league that Oakland would expedite the environmental review and other bureaucratic moves that could bog down the project.
On the financial side, the New York hedge fund Fortress Management Group is willing to work on terms for a $600 million contribution similar to the one Bank of America is offering for the Las Vegas stadium, Schaaf’s letter said. The group’s involvement was previously reported by The Associated Press and others, but is the first public airing of details of the hedge fund’s role. NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott is working with the group and among those seeking to keep the team in California.
The NFL dismissed the initial plan put forward by the city and the investment group in December.
The city would put forth $200 million and the Raiders $500 million as they have proposed to do in Las Vegas.
The NFL says it is reviewing the letter. The league is expected to vote on the Las Vegas move, and appears likely to approve it, at its annual owners meetings that start Sunday in Phoenix. The Las Vegas vote could come Tuesday.
Lott, a onetime Raider, said it would be sad for the Raiders to shun the city yet again.
“To rip this team away from Oakland for a second time would be heartbreaking and entirely unnecessary given that we have a viable option on the table that keeps them here and helps this community and the team grow,” Lott said in a statement. “We have a sophisticated financial partner in Fortress. We have done the due diligence, and it is clear that the only fully-financed, ready-to-roll option for the Raiders is in Oakland.”
The plan includes a separate, baseball-only venue at the site for the Athletics, and alternate plans in case they choose to move. The two teams are the last remaining MLB and NFL teams to share a stadium.
The Raiders applied to move to the Los Angeles area last year, but the league turned down that request in favor of the Rams moving from St. Louis. The Chargers will join the Rams in the Los Angeles area this season and the teams will share a stadium in Inglewood, which is expected to open in 2019.
That left the Raiders looking for another option, which became Las Vegas.