Oakland Coliseum officials say that a potential lawsuit by the city against the Raiders and the NFL could cause the team to leave after this upcoming season, according to Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle.
On Tuesday, Oakland Councilman Noel Gallo told the Chronicle that the multimillion-dollar antitrust lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL over the team's impending move to Las Vegas that the City Council authorized is expected to be filed and announced before the Raiders open their 2018 season at home against the Rams Monday, Sept. 10.
Outside attorneys are handling the up-front costs of the lawsuit in exchange for a portion of whatever the city can collect in damages from the Raiders and the league. The city attorney's office is preparing to file the suit and is waiting for contract language sign-offs from the outside firms that will handle the litigation, according to the Chronicle. Gallo said Oakland could potentially win $500 million in the lawsuit.
The Raiders currently play at Oakland Coliseum and are under a year-to-year lease with Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. Coliseum Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben said the two sides are working on finalizing an extension to the lease for next season and the 2020 season, but team executives told McKibben, "we might as well take the contract and rip it up" if the city pursues the antitrust lawsuit."
The Chronicle reports the lease extension would make the city and county $3.7 million next season and $5 million the season after that, and the Coliseum Authority's board is expected to vote on the deal within weeks.
If the Raiders do decide to leave after this season because of the lawsuit, they would still need to find a home for the 2019 season because their stadium in Las Vegas is expected to be ready for the 2020 season at the earliest.
Neither the Coliseum directors nor the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved Oakland's decision to sue the Raiders and the NFL, which was made within the past week.