The Oakland Raiders do not have a home after the 2014 season. After signing an extension in November 2013, the Raiders will once again hit the stadium market, as it were, at the end of next season. There doesn’t appear to be a realistic location for them to move to after next year, but if something does not get done in Oakland, the team very well could be looking for a new home within the next few years.
Whenever talk of a potential Raiders move surfaces, it is almost always connected with a move back to Los Angeles, where the Raiders played from 1982-1995. But now, it appears that another suitor has thrown its hat into the ring for the Raiders should owner Mark Davis decide to move the team out of Oakland.
Portland, Oregon wants a football team and think the Raiders would be a nice fit.
A group of fans has started a petition on Change.org attempting to convince the governor of Oregon to try and bring an NFL team to the state. The website of the group prominently features photos of Raiders players and notes the fact that Davis is open to the possibility of moving.
The idea seems rather far-fetched and unlikely to happen. Portland is not a huge market and is much smaller than the Bay Area and Los Angeles. The group’s site notes that “Portland is the largest market in America that has only one Major League sports franchise,” the Portland Trailblazers, although the Portland Timbers have been quite successful. However, the NBA and MLS are not the NFL, and there’s the whole issue of where an NFL team would play in The City of Roses.
Not that it would affect the NFL’s Raiders, but there’s also a minor league football team already in Portland called the Raiders that plays games against other teams in the Pacific Northwest from April through June.
Portland may get an NFL team one day and it may even be the Raiders, but this looks like the beginning of a long process for fans of the NFL in Oregon. In fact, the move to put pressure on the Raiders may actually work to Oakland’s benefit. Davis has expressed displeasure with the lack of movement on a stadium in Oakland, and while Los Angeles sounds like a great idea, there is even less momentum for a stadium project there.
Over recent years there has been no shortage of rumors and news stories about potential NFL stadium projects in Los Angeles. But much like talks of Coliseum City in Oakland, the rumors of an NFL return to LA have been nothing more than talk. Without any serious and immediate threat to steal the Raiders, Oakland has shown that it’s in no hurry to rush any stadium project. Perhaps having a new city in the mix will push the City of Oakland to work a little bit harder and faster to keep the team.