Mayor Schaaf ‘very pleased' Raiders staying in Oakland for now

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OAKLAND (BCN)-- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said on Tuesday that she is "very pleased" that the Raiders will stay in her city for at least one more year after the football team dropped its bid to move to the Los Angeles area.

On Wednesday, Mayor Schaaf spoke with KTVU in an in-studio interview. She reiterated her pleasure and touted the city’s real estate as an asset in convincing the Raiders to stay long term.

“My first reaction was that I was very pleased that the NFL saw the potential in Oakland and is giving us more time, but we’re very aware that the clock is ticking,” said Schaaf. “We have very valuable real estate. We have the Raiders’ legacy that belongs in Oakland. Thanks to the NFL and this decision yesterday, the team now has an extra $100 million that can only be spent on an Oakland stadium— another really great kind of weapon in our arsenal to really make the case to [Raiders owner] Mark Davis so we really can get this done,”

Speaking at a hastily-called news conference in her office, Schaaf said the Raiders' decision at a meeting of National Football League owners in Houston late today means that the city has been given "an extension of time" to try to reach a deal that will keep the team in Oakland for the long term.

"We believe we can get a new football stadium built here without a public subsidy," Schaaf said.

The Raiders, the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers all applied to the NFL last week to move to the Los Angeles area this fall. The Los Angeles area hasn't had an NFL team since the Raiders left after the 1994
season to move back to Oakland, their original home.

Raiders owner Mark Davis wanted to share a new stadium in Carson, a Los Angeles suburb, with the Chargers.

Instead, NFL owners voted today to approve Rams owner Stan Kroenke's plan to move to Inglewood, which also is in the Los Angeles area, and build a new stadium there.

The owners also gave the Chargers the option to join the Rams in Inglewood.

Schaaf said she's "excited" for Oakland to have another opportunity to negotiate with the Raiders about building a new football stadium at the Oakland Coliseum complex, where the Raiders and the A's baseball team share the Coliseum. The aging structure is the only stadium in the U.S. that's shared by professional football and baseball teams.

But she said, "We recognize that the clock is ticking" and realize that the city may have only a year or less to try to reach an agreement with the Raiders.

"This is not the end, this is just the beginning," the mayor added. A sticking point in negotiations between Oakland and the Raiders is that Schaaf doesn't want to spend any public money to help the football team build a new stadium, only offering $90 million in funding for infrastructure improvements at the Coliseum complex site. Davis has been looking for more financial support from the city.

Schaaf said she's encouraged by reports that the NFL said today it will pledge $100 million toward the cost of building a new stadium in Oakland.

She said, "Having the prospect of getting an extra $100 million makes a tremendous difference" in trying to reach a deal with the Raiders.