Oakland Works to Best Rival Vegas’ Bid for Raiders Stadium

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By William H. Carlile

Dec. 2 — Supporters of a plan to keep the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders in the city are working against a fast-approaching deadline to present their potential counteroffer to Las Vegas’s stadium financing plan.

According to unofficial reports, Oakland, Calif.'s $1.3 billion, 55,000-seat stadium proposal would come in lower than a $1.9 billion proposal adopted last month by Nevada’s Legislature and governor.

Erica Derryck, communications director for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D), told Bloomberg BNA nothing has been publicly released outlining specifics of the proposal, and said she wouldn’t divulge specifics until the issue goes before the Oakland City Council.

The mayor said Dec. 2, however, “that time is of the essence” to finalize the deal “as the NFL relocation filing window could open as early as January 2017.”

Team Owner Silent

The details, according to media reports, describe a stadium financing proposal consisting of $600 million in private money from Oakland City Pro Football Group LLC, a team of investors fronted by former NFL star Ronnie Lott. It also would include $200 million from the NFL, $300 million from the team and $200 million in borrowed public funds. The public funds for infrastructure improvements would be repaid from revenue generated by the stadium project.

The council and the Alameda, Calif., County Board of Supervisors have been conducting private discussions on the proposal. The Raiders and owner Mark Davis have largely stayed silent on the potential deal.

It is uncertain whether Davis would be receptive to the idea of Lott’s group asking him to sell them an ownership stake in the team.

For now, at least, Davis appears to be standing by recent statements that he remains committed to Las Vegas. He is expected to present his formal case for the team’s relocation at a meeting of NFL team owners in January. A spokesman for the Raiders didn’t return requests for comment.

Las Vegas Response?

Also unclear is if Las Vegas would come back with a revised offer if the Raiders decided to remain in Oakland. A spokeswoman for the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development didn’t respond to requests for comment, but the deal was contingent on the Raiders relocating.

On Nov. 15, the Clark County, Nev., commissioners approved a $1.9 billion financing package for construction of a 65,000 seat, NFL-ready stadium, plus revitalization of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The two projects would be financed through a 0.88 percentage-point hotel room tax increase to fund the stadium, and a half-percentage point increase for improvements to the center.

The new hotel room taxes, which take effect Jan. 1, will add $1.35 for every $100 on a room rate.

The rise in the hotel room tax rate is expected to generate $750 million in bonds for the stadium, the biggest tax subsidy ever awarded for a professional sports stadium, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

To contact the reporter on this story: William H. Carlile in Phoenix at wcarlile@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

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