OAKLAND, Calif. - With the Raiders gone to Las Vegas a group of Bay Area entrepreneurs and business people want to bring professional football back to Oakland. The "African American Sports and Entertainment Committee" sent the NFL a letter of intent, asking to discuss the proposal. This isn't just about football.
“Historic design, having it be the first African-American owned football team in the NFL," said Ray Bobbitt, Oakland business owner and member of the committe.
News of the letter was first reported by SF Gate. Bobbitt says the letter outlines the proposed franchise's intention to use the Oakland Coliseum complex as well as a path to finding a principal owner. NFL rules require one person put up 30% of the cost of the team, which could amount to well over $1 billion. “If we couldn’t find someone who was qualified under that rule, second option, a collective between entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainers," said Bobbitt.
Bobbitt is a lifelong Raider fan who grew up in East Oakland. He says the proposal goes beyond filling the void for fans; it would create jobs an economic opportunities, working to improve the community. "We would add an educational component to the facility," said Bobbitt. "We want to add a Bay Area sports and entertainment museum, utilize funds to help increase education in East Oakland.”
Bobbitt acknowledges this is a preliminary step in a long process. He also added that this is primarily an exploratory committee. He believes there is no better place than Oakland to bring equity and diversity to the NFL. “Something historic in a historic city that has been a host city for 47 years," said Bobbitt. "To occur in a community where people have fought for civil justice and social change for so long.”
Bobbitt says the group also suggested the team could follow the Green Bay Packers' non-profit model, where shares are owned by members of the community.