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Lease deal for Raiders to play in Oakland next season still on table

Updated February 5, 2019 - 8:26 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Raiders recently were informed that a deal they walked away from in December, featuring a $7.5 million rent agreement to play in Oakland next season, is still on the table, said an official for the board that oversees the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Scott McKibben, executive director of the Coliseum Authority, said Tuesday in a phone interview with the Review-Journal that he issued the update to Raiders president Marc Badain in an email exchange this week. There was no immediate indication whether the team will exercise the option.

Badain did not return a request for comment.

Two months ago, talks ceased between the two sides when the city of Oakland filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL and its 32 clubs. The Raiders previously made their stance on the scenario clear, pushing for any lease extension at the Coliseum to contain language that would prohibit such litigation.

The city of Oakland balked at the language’s inclusion before filing suit.

The Raiders since have explored a number of stadium options outside of Oakland.

It is their preference to stay in the Bay Area, near their headquarters in Alameda, before relocating to Las Vegas in 2020.

“We have always wanted them to come back and play the last season here,” McKibben said Tuesday. “Keep in mind the Coliseum Authority that I work for and represent is not in this lawsuit. The lawsuit has been filed by the city of Oakland. The role that I have taken is I’ve got a lot of jobs to save for a season or two.

“We would love to see them play here for the fans and the sponsors and the media exposure and all the various constituents that are impacted by this.”

McKibben said that he believes the Coliseum and Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, are the Raiders’ only two options for a nearby home in 2019.

To his point, San Francisco does not appear inviting.

On Tuesday morning, San Francisco Mayor London Breed publicly slammed the notion the Raiders might play at Oracle Park, where the San Francisco Giants are based. She cited a number of factors as prohibitive, including construction and traffic related to the Golden State Warriors’ move to the city this fall.

Breed expressed her disapproval during an interview with the Bay Area’s KTVU-TV, Channel 2. She told the television station that she has notified the Giants organization of her concerns.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Breed said, “the Oakland Raiders should play in Oakland.”

On Sunday, an NBC Bay Area anchor reported the Raiders will play in San Francisco in 2019.

A person familiar with the situation, however, indicated that talk of any agreement was premature.

Among the obstacles: the 49ers first must waive territorial rights for the San Francisco market, and the NFL would need to approve the arrangement.

Neither has happened, the person said Sunday.

Oakland appears far more welcoming to the Raiders. There, McKibben said that “about 3,000 people” are employed in various capacities on game days.

“Without question, we would like to see them play in Oakland,” McKibben said. “If they choose not to do that, that’s up to them.”

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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