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‘A great situation’: Raiders moving training camp to Southern California

Updated May 7, 2024 - 11:24 pm

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Raiders will be spending the summer in Southern California.

The club is escaping the summer heat of Las Vegas for the coastal climate of Costa Mesa after coming to terms with city leaders on a one-year agreement to hold training camp there this year.

The deal became official Tuesday after the Costa Mesa City Council voted 7-0 on a deal that allows the Raiders to use the Jack Hammett Sports Complex as their training camp base.

“I look forward to partnering with the Raiders, a quality organization,” Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens said. “And I know we at the city are a quality organization as well.”

Stephens pointed to the financial impact that hosting the Raiders will bring to the city in terms of fans visiting the area during camp. He added that the city has become well-versed in hosting NFL training camps after being the home of the Chargers from 2017 to 2023.

“We have a proof of concept with having a training camp at Jack Hammett,” Stephens said. “It was a very successful endeavor for us.”

The Chargers are moving to their new practice facility in El Segundo this year and will hold their training camp there. Their departure opened an ideal spot for NFL teams to move their camp, with the Raiders and Houston Texans expressing interest in using the facility.

Stephens said the Raiders and Costa Mesa city management were able to negotiate a deal in recent days that put the proposal on a fast track.

The only obstacle will be marketing the team in Southern California. By league rules, the Rams and Chargers own marketing rights in the area.

Raiders counsel Lucas Paule, who represented the franchise Tuesday, said the club is in discussions with both teams about reaching an accord.

“We need to be cognizant of that,” Paule said. “We are in open conversations with both teams about the logistics of it.”

Paule expressed confidence that the Raiders will reach an accord with both teams.

“Those talks are still ongoing,” he said. “And especially now that the city has approved it, we feel confident enough to say we will be here.”

Deal points

As part of the agreement, the Raiders will:

— Pay $165,000 in rent to Costa Mesa;

— Pay $600,000 for field improvements, including some irrigation and flattening the field surface at the sports complex;

— Hold a team training camp for children ages 6 to 12;

— Give 100 tickets for local students to attend an NFL game in Southern California;

— Donate outdoor weight training equipment to Costa Mesa High School;

— Donate $10,000 to a local youth sports team.

The original agreement said camp would be open to the public, but that likely won’t be the case. The setup would be similar to practices at the Raiders’ facility in Henderson, where only season ticket holders, guests and sponsors were allowed to attend.

The Raiders are in talks with Costa Mesa High School, which is adjacent to Jack Hammett, about building a temporary locker room and weight room facility to use during camp.

The Raiders have not announced how much of camp will be spent in Costa Mesa, but as part of the agreement, they must hold at least 10 practices there. They haven’t announced camp dates. The city council discussed July 19 to Aug. 11 as a potential window.

Since moving to Las Vegas in 2020, the Raiders have held training camp at their Henderson practice facility. But the challenge of working around the summer heat, which often meant scheduling morning practices as early as 7 a.m., has been burdensome.

Moving at least part of camp to Costa Mesa will alleviate those issues. And the space at Jack Hammett Sports Complex should allow for more access to the Raiders’ season ticket holders, guests and sponsors.

“I think it’s going to be a great situation, much like the Chargers,” Stephens said.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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