Oakland Raiders  

 

Mark Davis: We're trying everything to get Oakland stadium deal

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The Raiders upset the Chiefs Thursday at O.co Coliseum and just two more home games sit on the schedule for 2014. After that is nothing but uncertainty.

The lease for the Raiders' longtime stadium expires after the final regular-season game, and then comes the first of many decisions that will dramatically affect the long-term future of one of the NFL's most storied franchises.

Will they stay in Oakland with a new stadium? Bolt to Los Angeles or San Antonio, two cities that have been the object of their flirtations? Or sign another one-year lease and prolong the decision?

In a phone interview Wednesday, owner Mark Davis said another extension without a firm plan is less than ideal: "What I don't want to do is get caught up in an endless cycle of one-year extensions. Those lease extensions, they tend to give comfort."

What does Davis want? Simply, a new stadium right where the old stadium sits. And a decision soon.

A few days after Davis told the Los Angeles Daily News that Los Angeles would be a "great option" for the Raiders, he told me the paper didn't offer proper context to his remarks. He insists he made clear to the reporter how his main goal is a stadium in Oakland. So just to be clear, he reiterated.

"We are trying everything possible to get something done in Oakland right on the same exact site we're on right now," Davis said. "And I'd say 99 percent of my interests and energy are going towards getting something done there. That's really the crux of it right now. People want to know about the other sites and there are always options. But we want to get something done in Oakland."

A league official deferred to the club when asked to comment.

The political situation is complex in Oakland, and having to deal with the city and the county on all stadium issues makes it more complex. New Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf only adds an unfamiliar face to the mix, though she has begun working to keep the Silver and Black home. Oh, and the A's just signed a new 10-year lease for the stadium the teams share, though Davis points out that their agreement says the A's will leave within two years if the Raiders get a new deal on their site.

As far as how it would work, the San Francisco Chronicle has reported the Raiders would receive the land from the city and county on which the stadium sits in the event of a new stadium, and the Alameda County taxpayers would handle the $120 million still owed for the last construction in the 1990s. Davis adds that "we're not asking for public money" to actually build the stadium.

Instead, the only public investment would be for infrastructure such as improving the BART station at the stadium. Davis said the Raiders would put up half the money, while the land developer would "help fill in the gaps," he said. Part of all of that construction would be a Raiders Hall of Fame.

The next step, according to the Chronicle, is for New City Development LLC to use their 90-day extension of the exclusive negotiating window with the city and try to strike a deal.

"We'll see if anything is live there," Davis said, "and hopefully there is."

What about Los Angeles or San Antonio? Davis said both are "viable" options if Oakland doesn't work out as a permanent home.

"We want to stay here in Oakland," Davis said. "There's other opportunities that would be much more lucrative for us, to be real honest. But we are really trying to get something done in Oakland. We want a stadium the fans and the team can be proud of."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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