As the second Jon Gruden era begins in Oakland, the Raiders continue to attempt to gain a foothold in Las Vegas while their new stadium is being built. They are going to play in the Bay Area this season, but beyond that, there are no guarantees just yet.
The team does not have a surefire 2019 home. The Raiders’ lease with the Oakland Alameida Coliseum expires after the 2018 season, but their goal is to remain there for 2019, Vincent Bonsignore of the Orange County Register notes.
While UNLV’s home venue — Sam Boyd Stadium — was once seen as a possible contingency plan in case the Raiders and Oakland could not make a lame-duck situation work, that no longer appears to be the case. Bonsignore writes no temporary stadium solution exists in Vegas, so unlike the Rams and Chargers, the Raiders are sticking around in their longtime market while their domed site is being constructed. The 2020 season has been mentioned as the goal for that stadium’s unveiling, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that still isn’t certain.
And if the Raiders are unable to come to terms with Oakland on another lease to play at their 50-plus-year-old stadium for the 2019 season, Bonsignore expects San Diego and San Antonio to surface as possible stopgap home sites.
“As far as the gap between the announcement of the move and the actual moving into the stadium, it’s a tough one,” Mark Davis said, via Bonsignore. “But we want to try and bring a championship to the Bay Area, if we do, that will be fantastic. If we don’t, I can assure you we will have given it all we could to make that happen.”
The Raiders in September 2017 were discussing a lease extension with the city of Oakland for a possible plan to play both the 2019 and ’20 seasons there, in the event a construction delay occurs preventing the team from moving to Las Vegas until 2021. But with those talks being reported nearly 10 months ago, and no such agreement known to have taken place, it adds to the uncertainty surrounding the Raiders’ home following the 2018 campaign.
Davis maintains the eventual exit from Oakland will be agonizing, but he doesn’t regret his decision to relocate after Nevada provided the public funding — a record $750MM — Oakland didn’t.
“It all came down to the public entities and where they felt their efforts should be placed. And obviously we didn’t rank No. 1,” Davis said. “(Oakland) took the approach that why should we give you money? And it was never about them giving us money. And I’ve said that a number of times. All we ever asked for was help to stay in the Bay Area. It’s the most beautiful place in the world. We’ve got the greatest fans in the world up there. But we needed a place that would allow us to compete financially with the rest of the NFL.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.