The death of Raiders owner Al Davis has renewed speculation about the team's future home. Controlling interest in the Raiders is expected to go to Davis' son, Mark, opening the door to changes in the NFL's stadium construction and franchise relocation plans.
Rumors that the team might move to Los Angeles began circulating immediately after fans learned Davis had died Saturday morning. Several months before, he spurned suitors trying to lure a team to Los Angeles despite the offer of a new stadium. He reportedly turned down the offer because the developers wanted a stake in the Raiders.
The question now is whether Mark Davis will keep the team in the family or sell it.
Mark Davis did not comment on his intentions.
But even if the team opts to stay in the Bay Area, Al Davis' death could increase the chances of sharing a two-team stadium in Santa Clara with the San Francisco 49ers.
A Raiders-49ers stadium option has been on the table for several years without any concrete movement by either team. Davis was known for his ironclad grip on the Raiders and the idea that he would be willing to relinquish any of that control made a two-team stadium seem like a remote possibility. But he also wanted a new stadium.
Raiders CEO Amy Trask said repeatedly that the Raiders were keeping an open mind about sharing a facility in Santa Clara or in Oakland.
Asked about the new round of speculation, Trask said, "I am working with our team, our organization and the Raider family to navigate a very difficult time."
The Raiders contract with the O.co Coliseum in Oakland expires after the 2013 season.
The Raiders have been meeting with the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, which governs the coliseum complex, to discuss the team's future in Oakland, according to Commissioner Ignacio De La Fuente.
"Everything is on the table," he said Tuesday afternoon by telephone.
That could entail a year-to-year contract extension, or a long-term agreement -- with or without a new stadium in Oakland.
But no decisions have been made, several commissioners said Tuesday.
The Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is proposing to build a 72,000 seat football stadium next the Los Angeles Convention Center, expects to have the facility built in time for the 2016 season. A site in the City of Industry is also on the table.
Meanwhile, what the 49ers management is thinking is being kept under wraps. Team spokesman Steve Weakland said in an email: "Out of respect to the Davis family and the Raider organization, we have no public comments at this time."
In Santa Clara
Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews doesn't see Davis' death changing anything regarding any immediate or sure-thing changes to where the Raiders will choose to locate.
"We've had no discussions with the Raiders," Matthews said.
"And we're focusing on creating a landmark building for our primary tenant, the 49ers."
Santa Clara City Councilwoman Lisa Gillmor, however, was much more eager about having Oakland's Black Hole partner up in the South Bay.
"I would like to think that this improves the odds of the Raiders making a change to Santa Clara," Gillmor said.
"Our citizens voted to have a second team. And now is the time.
"We can't wait much longer. If they are interested, they need to let us know."
The majority of Santa Clara voters did vote in June 2010 to allow for two teams to play at a $987 million stadium in their city, and by doing so, the additional team would accelerate the payment on the $40 million the city of Santa Clara put into the deal.
A second team also would increase the rent paid on the land under the stadium that Santa Clara will own.
The vote, however, never specified the Raiders, though that is one of the most likely scenarios since the Oakland football team plays in an old stadium and is so close to Santa Clara.
Both Matthews and Gillmor said any second team would be welcome because of the finances.
"It would be economic vitality times two," Gillmor said.
She also noted that having the Raiders play in Santa Clara could pose a security issue because of the reputation of a small pocket of Raider Nation fans.
But she said similar security challenges could be true for adding any other second team.