By JOSH DUBOW
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland’s mayor asked NFL owners to delay voting on a proposed move by the Raiders to Las Vegas, wanting to give her city a chance to negotiate with a small group of owners to complete a stadium deal at the Coliseum site.
The league was set to vote Monday on the relocation, with the Raiders needing 24 of 32 owners to approve the move to a $1.7 billion stadium in Las Vegas that will be ready for play in 2020.
“Never that we know of has the NFL voted to displace a team from its established market when there is a fully financed option before them with all the issues addressed,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t do everything in my power to make the case for Oakland up until the very end.”
Schaaf said the city has presented a $1.3 billion plan for a stadium at the Coliseum site that would be ready by 2021. She says the existing Coliseum would be demolished by 2024, with the Oakland Athletics baseball team either moving to a new stadium at the Coliseum site or somewhere else in the city.
She also asked for owners to conduct a secret ballot on the vote, as was done last year when the league approved the Rams move from St. Louis to the Los Angeles area. The Raiders had hoped to move back to LA, where they played from 1982-94, to share a stadium with the Chargers, but were rejected by the owners. The Chargers announced this offseason they would leave San Diego to join the Rams at the new stadium in Inglewood.
Schaaf said the Raiders have refused to negotiate with the city on a new stadium since completing a short-term lease last March that gave the team options to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and `18.
The city has a deal with the Fortress Investment Group and a group led by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott to build a stadium at the Coliseum site. Fortress would provide $600 million in a traditional loan, with the Raiders and NFL committing $500 million and the city giving $200 million for infrastructure funding.
“We believe that moving the Raiders will be a negative `tipping point’ for the NFL,” a group of Raiders fans said in a letter also sent to NFL owners. “Thousands of fans may very well be turned off forever by what they perceive is the NFL’s lack of loyalty to its most important constituents – the fans!”
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