The Oakland mayor’s office confirmed Tuesday morning that a "framework deal" has been reached with a development team who wants to keep the Raiders in Oakland.
Despite the vague announcement, which offers no specifics, the latest development flies in the face of what Raiders owner Mark Davis has been saying repeatedly: He wants to move to Las Vegas.
The Oakland Raiders or the NFL have yet to comment on this latest development, which would need to be approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced early Tuesday that she had reached a framework with a group led by former NFL player Ronnie Lott, a spokesperson for the mayor's office said.
Schaaf said she's never felt closer to finding a way to keep the Raiders in Oakland.
"We're excited that, for the first time, we're working with a private partner who has not just the passion to keep the Raiders in Oakland but also the capacity to put upfront the amount of capital it will take to privately finance a stadium," Schaaf said. "The Raiders belong in Oakland. This is where they were born and raised. This is a part of their identity, and they are a part of our identity."
Aside from being a Hall of Famer, Lott is among a group of investors who had wanted to buy the Coliseum land, which includes Oracle Arena and other properties, for $167.3 million. Lott and others signaled their intent to keep the team in Oakland and out of Las Vegas in September.
According to Schaaf’s office, the mayor will be meeting with representatives from the county and the City Council in closed session over the next few days.
“There is a framework that has been agreed upon and is currently in closed session with the county and will be in closed session on Nov. 29 with the City Council," Schaaf spokeswoman Erica Terry Derryck said. "Both bodies will review so we know if we can move forward."
Raiders vs Texans in Mexico City
Jim Zelinski, co-founder of Save Oakland Sports, which launched the “Quedate in Oakland” rally in Mexico, among other efforts to keep the team in Oakland, said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the development.
“But there are two big hurdles," he said. "First, you need the buy-in of the most important stakeholder, (owner) Mark Davis. And two, don’t forget there are some very powerful owners who have lined up behind the Las Vegas deal.” Zelinski noted that despite what the mayor and Lott might have worked out, Davis has said repeatedly that he is ready to move to Vegas.
He added: “We’re behind Mr. Lott, but I don’t know what the mayor means by a “framework.”
Still, Zelinski didn’t want to come off as sounding too negative. And he vowed that Raiders’ fans would do everything in their power to keep the team in town as a “civic treasure” and remind the powers that be that keeping the Raiders in Oakland is “is in the best long-term economic interest of the NFL.”
Longtime fan, Ray Perez, who goes by Dr. Death at the Raiders' games, had a more upbeat take on the news, which he called a "very big deal." The framework means, he said, that anyone who said "Oakland hasn't done anything for the Raiders is now wrong." He said he understands that Lott's investment group would either be able to buy or lease the stadium land, which, in turn, would take Oakland out of the negotiations with the team. "Mark Davis would no longer be negotiating with Oakland anymore," he said. "And this gives the NFL an opportunity to look at the whole market."
Still, the NFL and 31 other owners have to agree on whatever deal is hammered out, and all that is up in the air. Plus, Perez asked out loud, "What is Lott getting out of it? There's such a thing as revenue sharing."
Amid all the relocation buzz, the Raiders have become a bonafide Super Bowl contender, CSN's Ray Ratto wrote Monday. The Raiders making the playoffs is a given, "after Monday’s 27-20 come-from-behind win over the improbably decent Houston Texans," Ratto wrote in his column.