A delegation of San Antonio government officials and civic leaders came to Oakland Friday to try to convince the Raiders football team to move to their city, according to Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid.
The delegation is headed by Henry Cisneros, a former San Antonio mayor who also served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton, Reid said.
The Raiders are in the final year of their lease at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland and are “looking at all of their options,” Reid said. Reid, who is a member of the board that oversees the operations at the sports facilities at the Oakland Coliseum complex, said of the Raiders:
“I understand and respect their position.”
He said Raiders owner Mark Davis has traveled to San Antonio twice in recent months to be “wined and dined” by San Antonio officials. The Raiders also expressed interest in the possibility of moving to Los Angeles, where they played from 1982 to 1994, Reid said.
At the same time, Reid said he is still hopeful that Oakland and Alameda County officials can arrange for the development of a new football-only stadium at the Coliseum site that would keep the Raiders in town as well as building a new stadium for the Oakland Athletics baseball team that would also keep both teams in Oakland.
However, Reid said:
“It’s a very complicated deal and there are so many aspects to keeping the A’s and the Raiders.”
The O.co Coliseum is the only stadium left in the U.S. that currently hosts both a pro baseball team and a pro football team. Newer stadiums are designed to be used exclusively for one of the two sports but not both.
Oakland City and Alameda County officials recently approved an agreement to extend the lease for the A’s at the Coliseum through the 2024 season. However, the agreement includes an escape clause that allows the A’s to leave the Coliseum after the 2018 season.
The pact also allows the city of Oakland to force the A’s out of the Coliseum if a deal to develop the site and build a new football-only stadium for the Raiders materializes.
Oakland city officials have an exclusive negotiating agreement with a group of investors who want to build a new football-only stadium at the Coliseum site for the Raiders, along with a commercial development there.
The group’s exclusive negotiating period was set to expire in late October but it was extended by 90 days after the last-minute addition of financial adviser Floyd Kephart to the investor group.
The group hopes to name a developer for the Coliseum site before the end of the year. The A’s aren’t part of the proposed project but A’s owner Lew Wolff has said he might be interested in a development project at the site if he could control it.
Reid said Kephart is trying to get the Raiders to commit to a development project at the Coliseum site and he also dined with Wolff this week to try to get him interested in a development there. Raiders officials didn’t respond today to phone and email messages seeking comment on the visit to Oakland by San Antonio leaders.