Raiders Nation were none too happy with the announcement that their beloved football team might move south and share a stadium with the San Diego Chargers if both NFL teams fail to find new stadium solutions in their hometowns.
“If you’re a real Raiders fan and you’re from Oakland, you want the Raiders to stay in Oakland,” Samantha Bell said on Thursday.
She was referring to a joint statement by the two conference rivals in the AFC West, the Oakland Raiders and the Chargers’ management said they are looking at a stadium site in Carson in Los Angeles County while still looking at options in their respective current cities. The deal in Carson would be privately financed.
Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid said if the Raiders leave, “it would be a great blow to the city of Oakland. It would set us back.”
Reid added: “I certainly don’t blame the Raiders for exploring their options given the difficulties in our efforts in putting together a deal to keep the Raiders here. Saying it’s been tough to keep the Raiders in Oakland is an understatement. It’s no secret that the Raiders want a new all football stadium, but who will pay for it? And where will it be built has been a big problem."
And in San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulconer was obviously frustrated and mad, too. Speaking Friday morning, he said he had no idea about the Chargers' plan to move until he heard about it Thursday night. “That’s not being upfront," he said, adding that this deal has been being hammered out over the last nine months. "That’s not how you do business.”
The National Football League has long wanted to have a football team in Los Angeles, a huge market for television viewers, where it now has none. And sports observers point out that both the Chargers and the Raiders are perfect teams to move, because both play in outdated stadiums in their hometowns. Meanwhile, the Oakland situation is even more complicated because there have been talks about the Raiders sharing a team with the Oakland A's baseball team at new stadiums on the same site.
"I don't like it at all," said Raiders fan, Dr. Death, a 27-year-old Sacramento State University student. "But I think this is (Raiders owner) Mark Davis' leverage. From a business aspect, Oakland needs to hurry up and stop dragging its feet."
Oakland Coliseum Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben told NBC Bay Area on Friday that Oakland better hurry up and come up with some sort of plan fast to keep the Raiders in town.
And even as the Raiders-Chargers proposal was rolled out, top Raiders officials said they'd prefer to stay in Oakland if some kind of deal could be worked out.
At the same time the joint announcement was revealed, the head of an investor group trying to build a massive development at the current O.co Coliseum complex in Oakland on Thursday warned that the Raiders could leave Oakland if officials in Alameda County don't get involved in negotiations soon.
Floyd Kephart, the lead executive of New City Development LLC, said city of Oakland officials have been "very straightforward" in working on the Coliseum City project but he said, "We don't have that same thing from Alameda County."
Kephart, the chairman of the board of Renaissance Companies, a San Diego firm that advises hedge funds, private equity groups and financial institutions, said a development plan for the Coliseum site "has to be done in the next few months or the Raiders will leave."
Kephart told the business group that Davis called Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Scott Haggerty on Wednesday and "asked him to push this along."
But Haggerty said he's already talking to Davis on a weekly basis and county officials are committed to retaining all of Oakland's pro sports teams, which are the Raiders, the A's baseball team and the Golden State Warriors basketball team.
Alameda County's participation is a key component for the $2 billion-plus Coliseum City project because the county and the city own about two-thirds of the 200 acres at the Coliseum site where the development is proposed.
Plans call for at least one new sports stadium at the site plus housing, retail stores, hotels and housing.
Kephart said the Coliseum City project "could be the vibrant urban center that everyone envisions and include 5,700 residential units and 475,000 square feet of retail space.
But he said the development "is hung up on the city and county coming together on land."
About $106 million of outstanding debt remains on the current O.co Coliseum, which is used by both the Raiders and the A's baseball team, but any deal to pay off the debt would depend on the county's participation.
The Oakland City Council recently granted a 90-day extension to New City Development on its exclusive negotiating agreement with the city to develop the project.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she is proposing that the agreement be amended to also include the county so the two government entities can work together.
"The county has got to be at the table with the city," Schaaf said.
She said the project hasn't moved forward "as quickly as any of us would have liked" but she understands that the county needs time to research the development proposal before it participates in the process.
The city envisions up to three new sports venues at the site: a new football stadium for the Raiders, a new baseball park for the A's and a new arena for Warriors basketball games and other events.
But so far only the Raiders have expressed strong interest in participating in the project, while the Warriors have already announced plans to move across the Bay to San Francisco as early as 2018.
Kephart said if the A's commit by next year to build a new baseball stadium at the Coliseum site it would be possible to build both a new football stadium and a baseball stadium at the site in the next five years.
"You could do two stadiums in five years," he said.
Kephart also said, "There is enormous support in the community" for the Coliseum City project.
NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd, NBC San Diego's R. Stickney and Bay City News' Jeff Shuttleworth contributed to this report.