PHOENIX – Raiders owner Mark Davis has given Oakland and Alameda County officials the silent treatment over the past year.
He has ignored attempts to keep his Raiders in the East Bay, choosing instead to focus on a stadium proposal in Las Vegas. Relocation was a goal achieved on Monday morning, when NFL owners approved a move by a 31-1 vote.
Oakland mayor made several last-second attempts to sway ownership, hoping they would help bring him back to the negotiating table.
Davis never thawed his cold shoulder. He explained why after Las Vegas approval was secure.
While the Raiders and Oakland officials clashed over land use and control of the Coliseum site, a schism occurred roughly a year ago. The Raiders and Chargers were angling to share a stadium in Carson, while the Rams wanted to build a facility in Inglewood. The Raiders were still open an Oakland return at that point, but official’s actions changed his outlook.
“I think it turned during the L.A. (relocation attempt),” Davis said. “Before the vote for Los Angeles, Oakland had an opportunity to come in and make a presentation to the league. They came in with a five-page (submission) that had nothing to do with anything. They claimed that they would wait for us to lose the L.A. vote, and then come back with all the leverage.”
Davis didn’t view that as good-faith negotiations, and still went back to Oakland after losing the L.A. battle to the Rams, and the first option to join them to the Chargers.
“We came back to Oakland and negotiated a one-year lease with two years of options and talked about getting together to discuss a long-term future together,” Davis said. “A week later, I got a call from one of the (Alameda County) supervisors and told me, ‘Mark, the lease you just negotiated and the options are not going to be valid.’
At that point, we ended up signing that lease anyway, but decided we had to start looking elsewhere to find a long-term solution.
He found a willing partner in Las Vegas and Nevada. That state’s legislature approved $750 million in public funds for stadium construction, and will contribute even more to infrastructure improvements.
That’s a sweetheart deal Oakland couldn’t match. The city ultimately presented a plan NFL owners didn’t consider actionable, which wasn’t a deterrent to a positive relocation vote.
Not that it mattered much. Davis committed to Las Vegas, and remained focused on that.
“The commitment made by the legislature and the governor was very strong,” Davis said. “I think my commitment was strong as well, and we worked out a deal.”