It’s been nearly 20 years since Los Angeles had an NFL team. Although the league continues to look for a way to tap one of America’s biggest markets, the pieces haven’t quite fallen into place. The Oakland Raiders, however, might make the dream a reality come 2015.
According to team owner Mark Davis, he’s considered a move to Los Angeles if nothing materializes when their one-year contract extension with o.Co Coliseum ends next offseason.
“We’re not done in Oakland. We’re trying really hard, and we’ll see how that goes,” Davis said. “But Los Angeles is something that I’ve definitely thought about and haven’t pursued. There are other places as well. Until we can find out if Oakland is real, then I’m still staying in Oakland. If we can get something done in Oakland, I will stay in Oakland.”
Just because Davis appears set on staying in Oakland doesn’t mean it will happen.
The city might not be willing to fork out the money necessary to get a deal done. The Minnesota Vikings had a tough time swaying voters and city officials last offseason, nearly missing out on their new state-of-the-art stadium. The Miami Dolphins are also battling with local forces in an effort to fund a new field. Due to the economic climate, NFL teams have simply been struggling to get backing for their new billion-dollar homes.
Davis could also be looking for leverage as negotiations loom at the end of the 2014 campaign. If fans feel the Raiders are ready to split, they could pressure the city to open their wallets and help keep the team in Oakland. It could also open a door for potential investors in Los Angeles to begin their attempts to sway Davis towards a move.
Put simply, he’s weighing his options and putting contingency plans in place.
It seems unlikely the Raiders will part ways with their diehard fan base in the Bay Area, but stranger things have happened. If Oakland is unwilling to budge come 2015, Davis might be forced to return to a city that hasn’t had an NFL team since 1995.