The Raiders are headed to Las Vegas, but will remain in Oakland for at least the next two seasons.
The team announced they plan to play in the Bay Area in 2017 and 2018, where they have the option to play at the Oakland Coliseum. Where the team will play in 2019 remains uncertain. A $1.7 billion stadium in Las Vegas is expected to be ready in 2020.
Speaking at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix on Monday, owner Mark Davis acknowledged the awkward nature of the Raiders‘ tenant agreement, but wouldn’t term the divorce a “lame duck” situation.
“First off, I wouldn’t use the term ‘lame duck,'” he said. “We’re still the Oakland Raiders, and we are the Raiders, we represent the Raider Nation. As I said earlier, there’s going to be some disappointed fans and angry fans, and it’s going to be up to me to talk to them and let them know why, how and what has happened, and hopefully we can work things out and work together for the future.
“We have two one-year lease options for Oakland right now. I intend, if the fans would like us to stay there, we’d love to be there for that, and possibly talk to them about extending it for maybe ’19 as well, and try to bring a championship back to Oakland.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the team will still be referred to as the Oakland Raiders as long as the team plays in Oakland.
It’s the third relocation for the Raiders in the past 35 years. The franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1982 before returning to Oakland in 1995. Now, Bay Area Raiders fans will lose their team for the second time.
Davis added that fans who have already put down deposits for season tickets in Oakland could request a refund.
“I love Oakland, I love the fans in Oakland and I know that there’s going to be disappointment and maybe some anger,” he said. “I just hope that in the future as we play in Oakland this year, that they understand it wasn’t the players, it wasn’t the coaches that made this decision, but it was me that made it, and if they have anybody to talk to about it, it should be me, and I will in the coming days try to explain to them what went into making this difficult decision.”