Team to play 2019 at Coliseum

OAKLAND — Raiders fans will get to root for their team in Oakland one more season.

After months of searching for a temporary home, owner Mark Davis settled on the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum after reaching a lease deal Friday with East Bay officials.

The Coliseum Stadium Authority board at its Friday meeting voted unanimously to approve the lease extension.

The Raiders will pay $7.5 million, plus $750,000 they owe from previous parking fees to play nine home games in Oakland where they have a devoted fan base. The rent would increase to $10.5 million if the team exercises an option year, a provision added in case construction in Las Vegas stalls. As part of the agreement, the team pays $525,000 for the practice facility and is allowed to continue using it for 36 months after relocating to Las Vegas.

The agreement also includes an option to stay for the 2020 season in case the Raiders’ new $1.84 billion, 62,228-seat stadium in Las Vegas isn’t ready next year. If that happens, the rent would increase to $10.5 million. The Raiders also won’t get to share naming rights revenue in 2019 if the Coliseum finds a corporate sponsor, according to a source with knowledge of the terms.

Oakland City Council and Alameda County supervisors still need to approve the deal.

The Raiders are expected to vacate after the 2019 season because the construction of southern Nevada’s domed stadium has not experienced any delays or budget overruns, according to a Dec. 31 Las Vegas Stadium Authority status report. The stadium is scheduled to be finished by July 31, 2020.

But the option for a second season would help avoid a similar mess like in recent months when the Raiders went searching for a temporary home.

The team backed out of negotiations in December after Oakland leaders filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the team and NFL. City officials said they had hoped to win millions in damages to help pay off $75 million in debt remaining from Coliseum renovations that were made to accommodate the Raiders return to the East Bay in 1995. Sale of personal seat licenses were supposed to pay off bonds but the money never materialized.

Because of the legal spat, it seemed the Raiders had played their final game in Oakland with a season-ending 27-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on Dec. 24.

“It’s a home game, it’s Christmas, it’s potentially the last game in the Coliseum with the best fans in the world,” tight end Lee Smith said at the time. “It’s a moment that none of us will ever forget. We talked all week about building memories and what the environment was going to be like.”

Raiders executives then spent the next two months search for a temporary home. Davis negotiated with the 49ers over using Levi’s Stadium before settling on playing at Oracle Park. The deal with the Giants unraveled when the 49ers declined to waive their territorial rights, forcing Davis to return to negotiations with the Coliseum Stadium Board that manages the Oakland sports facilities off of Interstate 880.

The Raiders also looked at the possibility of playing in San Diego and Reno — and even London, where they will face the Chicago Bears in 2019. Then there was the idea of playing all games on the road for the team’s 60th anniversary. Most recently, Birmingham, Alabama, and Tucson, Arizona, joined the circus by publicly suggesting they could combine to play host to the team’s 2019 home games.

The transitory team played at the Los Angeles Coliseum from 1982-94 before former owner Al Davis relocated to the Bay Area. It has been a rocky 13 years on the field and off. The team is 88-104 during that span having reached one Super Bowl — a 48-21 defeat in 2002 for a Jon Gruden-coached squad.

Since the Super Bowl appearance, the team shuffled through nine coaches — who can forget Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Dennis Allen and Tony Sparano? — before re-hiring Gruden.

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