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“Not just a perfunctory vote’ as Raiders lease details revealed

OAKLAND– Some uncertainty remained Wednesday even as lease details that would keep the Raiders in Oakland one more season were laid out ahead of a scheduled Friday vote by the Coliseum Stadium Authority board.
The negotiations’ fickle nature led stadium authority executive director Scott McKibben to caution that the deal still could fall apart.
“We satisfactorily addressed most of the issues but this is not just a perfunctory, let’s raise our hands and vote yes kind of deal,” he said. “We’ve taken this to a point where it is now time to take it to the board, ‘OK, can you approve it or not approve it?’ ”
The issue surrounding the team’s headquarters and training facility in Alameda that had postponed the vote the past two weeks has been resolved. According to documents made public ahead Wednesday, the NFL team will transfer ownership of the property to the stadium authority after it vacates.
Much of the rest of the deal has been previously reported although the latest version shows minor adjustments in rent.
Raiders owner Mark Davis and his chief executive did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment.
The negotiations have been a delicate dance for the past months as the Raiders sought a temporary home before moving next year into a publicly supported, $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas.
NFL officials need a resolution ahead of the owners’ meetings March 24-27 in Phoenix because they want to finalize the 2019 schedule, which usually is announced in April.
After the authority board votes, the contract still needs approval from the Oakland City Council and Alameda County supervisors.
As part of the lease agreement, the team will pay $525,000 a year in rent for the practice facility and is allowed to continue using it for 36 months after relocating to Las Vegas.
“That won’t be an issue,” McKibben said.
The facility that was built by taxpayers would be returned to the stadium authority after the team’s departure.  East Bay officials gave the property to the Raiders as part of an overall $200 million stadium renovation deal that brought the team back from Los Angeles in 1995.
Under the proposed lease, the Raiders will pay $7.4 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 $10.4 million if the team exercises an option year, a provision added in case construction in Las Vegas stalls. So far the new stadium is meeting its timetable.
The Raiders also would not receive naming rights revenue if the Coliseum finds a corporate sponsor, which also will be discussed Friday.
McKibben is cautious about winning approval from the Coliseum authority board Friday because “like anything else, people have a different opinion about whether the rent is too high” or “is the rent too low? Are we getting enough for concessions and parking?”
McKibben acknowledged that emotions are charged because, in the end, the Raiders are rejecting Oakland for southern Nevada after 25 years.
“There are a lot of circumstances surrounding this that makes it far from routine,” McKibben said.
But newly signed wide receiver Antonio Brown hopes the team remains put in 2019.
“For me to be here in Oakland, a part of the Oakland Raiders and be on the last team that will ever be here in Oakland is something special in itself,” he said Wednesday. “There’s pressure in that, there’s excitement in that, there’s a lot that comes with that. I’m here today ready to embrace all that.”
The Raiders backed out of negotiations in December after the Oakland City Council filed a federal lawsuit against the team, the NFL, and the league’s 32 owners over the team’s relocation. As part of the original lease extension for the 2019 season, the Raiders made it clear the team would not play in Oakland if the city sued, but the City Council is not dropping its legal challenge.
Also, the city and county are responsible for $75 million in Coliseum debt, which stems from renovations made to lure the team to Oakland in 1995. Sales of personal seat licenses were supposed to pay for the debt but not enough were sold and the money never materialized. The Raiders have no obligation to pay the debt, and it never included the Oakland A’s, which are now trying to build a ballpark at Howard Terminal, adjacent to Jack London Square.
Staff writer Jerry McDonald contributed to this report.

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