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‘Productive’ talks resume for Raiders’ 2019 return to Oakland

Updated February 12, 2019 - 6:27 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders’ search for a home stadium in 2019 soon could end in a familiar place after the franchise recently resumed negotiations with the group that oversees the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Scott McKibben, executive director of the Coliseum Authority, acknowledged in a Tuesday phone interview with the Review-Journal that discussions are ongoing between the two sides.

“I will confirm that we, late last week, started sitting down and talking with the Raiders about the potential of a 2019 season deal,” McKibben said. “In my view, the discussions have been meaningful and productive.”

A Raiders official did not immediately return request for comment. The club has spent 40 seasons at the Coliseum, including the past 24.

The team’s lease at the Coliseum expires Wednesday, per McKibben. He said last week that he hoped to gain clarity by the lease’s conclusion on whether the Raiders had interest in discussing a possible return to Oakland in 2019.

Negotiations now could progress quickly, given the foundation that was established last year when the Raiders and Coliseum Authority agreed on terms that included a $7.5 million rent figure for 2019. Progress stalled in December when the city of Oakland filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL and its 32 clubs, prompting the Raiders to walk away from the possible lease extension.

The Raiders then explored alternative sites, including local options Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and Oracle Park in San Francisco. They did not rule out an Oakland return while quietly sifting through options.

Communication between team president Marc Badain and McKibben picked up shortly after the Feb. 3 Super Bowl.

McKibben told the Review-Journal early last week that he conveyed in an email to Badain that the $7.5 million figure from December was still in play. Their correspondence evolved as the lease’s expiration neared.

Following due diligence, they’re back at the table.

“I’ve said from the beginning, my biggest concern is our fans, and it’s my hope and preference to remain in the Bay Area (in 2019) for them,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told the Review-Journal last week. “The fans have always been first in my heart. We do have other options, but the hope is to remain in the Bay Area next season until we move to Las Vegas in 2020, which I remain very excited about.”

On Tuesday, another person familiar with the situation expressed belief that these talks will culminate in a 41st season for the Raiders at the Coliseum. Should an agreement be reached in the coming days, a lease could be approved later this month at a public meeting.

The NFL is ready to plan accordingly.

It has awaited resolution on the stadium situation when assembling the 2019 schedule, which will be announced in April. The Raiders are known to play one “home” game in London next regular season versus the Chicago Bears. An answer on the home stadium allows the league to arrange the other seven regular-season home games.

The Raiders will host the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

Those games appear increasingly likely to be held in Oakland.

More Raiders: Follow at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

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

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