PHOENIX - Oakland, Calif., Mayor Libby Schaaf said this week she remains committed to keeping the Oakland Raiders, but will not use public money to win a bidding war against Nevada.
The mayor released a statement Wednesday following Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval's Oct. 17 approval of legislation to provide $750 million in public money for a National Football League stadium in Las Vegas to lure the Raiders.
"I know that there is a lot of interest in what is going to happen with the Raiders, and whether Oakland can keep its team from being ripped away from Bay Area fans for a second time," Schaaf said in a statement.
The team was founded in Oakland in 1960 but spent the 1982 through 1994 seasons in Los Angeles before returning to Oakland in 1995 thanks in part to a stadium expansion for which bonds remain outstanding.
"If Oakland is going to be successful in offering the Raiders and the NFL a viable alternative to moving to Las Vegas, I have to stay clearheaded," Schaaf said. "I cannot afford for us to be thrown off our game because Nevada lawmakers have deemed it appropriate to put $750 million in public money towards a private sports facility. While I'm committed to keeping the Raiders, I will not enter into a bidding war with Nevada using public funds."
The Raiders' current venue, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, is 50 years old.
Schaaf said a partnership between the city, Alameda County, and former San Francisco 49ers player-turned-businessman Ronnie Lott will continue to move forward with a plan to offer the Raiders a viable alternative to leaving the stadium.
"I believe that in partnership with Alameda County and the team Ronnie Lott has assembled, we can offer a serious plan in the coming weeks that is fair to the Raiders, the league, the fans and the Oakland taxpayers to whom I am most responsible," the mayor said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at a Wednesday press conference that the league still has work to do before it could approve a relocation of the Raiders.
"There's still a great deal of information we need to gather with respect to the circumstances that we see in Las Vegas, the opportunities and also the challenges," Goodell said.
The commissioner said the NFL owners' committee could revisit the question as soon as early December, but likely later than that.