The Oakland Raiders football organization filed its walking papers to move to Las Vegas last week, with an effective move date in the year 2020. But the city of Oakland, backed by deep-pocketed investors including Hall of Fame Raider Ronnie Lott, are betting that Las Vegas will fumble — and carrying on with their plans to build a new Oakland stadium for the Raiders.
Ronnie Lott has teamed up with a few former players who are now in the investment game, plus a global firm called the Fortress Investment Group. “The Fortress and Lott group remains diligently focused on providing a plan and solution to the Raiders to remain in Oakland,” their spokesperson Sam Singer said in a release.
The bottom line is always dollars, and right now the Las Vegas stadium has more of them to offer. Under the Vegas plan, the Raiders’ new stadium would be financed by $750 million in hotel tax revenue, $650 million from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, and $500 million from the Raiders and the NFL. That’s a $1.9 billion proposition,
Lott’s competing Oakland plan is just under a $1.3 billion offer, with $400 million coming from Ronnie Lott’s investors, $350 million in bonds and freebies from the city of Oakland, and the same $500 million being asked of the Raiders and the NFL.
“We are working on completing the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the City of Oakland and County of Alameda as our next step, which should be completed in the coming weeks,” Singer insisted in the statement. “We will also be providing additional information and data to the Raiders and the NFL so that they can see there is a real and viable option to remain in Oakland.”
But the final decision will not be made by the Raiders, Ronnie Lott, or the city of Oakland — the final decision will be made by the 32 owners of NFL teams at a meeting in March, and 24 of them need to approve the relocation.
Concerns include involvement in the gambling industry, and potential TV revenue loss. Las Vegas is only the 40th largest media market in the U.S. The Bay Area, meanwhile, is the fifth largest.
“In one of the top five markets in the country, with a new, world-class stadium and an updated transit hub, we believe the Oakland Coliseum site will be one of the very best mixed use developments/sports complex in the Country,” Singer said in the release. “We are in this game and we are playing to win.”