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THE RAIDERS SIGN LETTER OF INTENT TO RETURN TO OAKLAND
Published June 26, 1995
"Ending weeks of nail-biting anticipation," Raiders Owner Al Davis and Oakland Coliseum President George Vukasin signed an agreement to "bring the team back to Oakland after 13 years of exile," according to the S.F. CHRONICLE. The deal will not be final until the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors hold three public meetings -- one each for three weeks beginning tomorrow. Coliseum directors want both governing bodies to consent by July 11 so they can close the deal by August 15 (Fagan, DelVecchio, & Fimrite, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 6/24). HIGHLIGHTS: The deal would be for 16 years, beginning in '96, with the '95 season as a transition year. The Coliseum will undergo $85M in improvements, including expansion to 65,000 with 175 luxury suites and new locker rooms -- all to be completed by '96 exhibition games and financed by public bonds. The Raiders receive 100% of ticket and luxury suite revenue, but will share concessions and parking with the Coliseum (L.A. TIMES, 6/24). WILL IT BE APPROVED? Several NFL sources said Friday the league will not prevent the Raiders from moving to Oakland and that the 49ers have "no argument for compensation, since there is nonspecific league policy regarding territorial rights." Sources also said that NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has decided to "urge the ownership to allow the switch rather than fight it" (Nancy Gay, KNIGHT RIDDER/TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE, 6/23). In L.A., Steve Springer writes, "This time, the Raiders are expected to get the league's blessing." An owners' meeting has been tentatively scheduled for July 14 (L.A. TIMES, 6/25). L.A. LOOKS FOR A NEW TEAM: With the No. 2 media market without an NFL team, several teams were reportedly interested, including the Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Seahawks. The Hollywood Park site that Davis spurned is "expected to become merely one of many prospective homes" for a new L.A. stadium to replace the Coliseum. Other possible stadium sites include Orange County and one in L.A. -- backed by CAA's Michael Ovitz (Steve Springer, L.A. TIMES, 6/24). In Anaheim, Disney Chair Michael Eisner has contacted owners about building a football-only stadium next to Anaheim Stadium. He is also proposing to build a "football fantasy world" (John Cherwa, L.A. TIMES, 6/24). L.A. Coliseum Commissioner Sheldon Sloan: "I've been contacted by three separate groups, one a major company capable of buying five franchises, and two other groups led by prominent local businessmen, who want to either purchases an existing team or form an expansion team to play in the Coliseum" (Kenneth Reich, L.A. TIMES, 6/24). WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: In L.A., Michael Ventre writes on the possible move of the Cardinals to L.A., "[Cards Owner Bill Bidwill's] team is coached by Buddy Ryan, who belongs in L.A. the way the Ebola virus belongs inside a crowded arena" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/25). In New York, Timothy Smith writes, "In this stage in his life ... a winning legacy might have a stronger allure to Davis than more dollars" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/25). In Boston, Ron Borges writes, "As Davis will learn if he really does abandon the nation's second- largest TV market for the bad side of the bay ... things are not the same just because you move back home" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/25). L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: "Good riddance as far as I'm concerned" ("World News Tonight," ABC, 6/23). CNN's Paul Craine: "It is never too late to come home again, as long as you have a good luxury suite package" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 6/23). NEXT ONES TO GO? Bengals President Mike Brown said this weekend that he has set a deadline for Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials of Thursday to finalize an agreement for a new stadium. If an agreement can not be signed, Brown said that he will "terminate discussions" with local officials and begin negotiating with a group trying to lure an NFL team to Baltimore (Baltimore SUN, 6/25).