City Of Oakland Sues All NFL Teams Based On The Raiders Relocating To Las Vegas
The Oakland Raiders, along with the National Football League and all other teams, have been sued by the City of Oakland for boycotting Oakland and moving the Raiders to Las Vegas. The details are laid out in a forty-nine page federal complaint filed on December 11, which alleges violations of antitrust laws and the NFL’s relocation policies.
There was no justification for the Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas, says the City of Oakland. It cites to the relocation policies of the NFL that presumptively favor NFL teams staying in their home territories as foundation for its claim. Instead of following said policies (noting that the Raiders had substantial support in Oakland), the thirty-two NFL teams cared more about pocketing tens of millions of additional dollars from a relocation fee paid by the Raiders, per the Complaint.
Additionally, the City of Oakland claims that there were never any good faith negotiations surrounding the potential of the Raiders staying in place. It is alleged that from 2014 through 2017, the Raiders publicly stated that the franchise wwas interested in staying in Oakland while truly seeking to move anywhere else, whether it be Las Vegas, San Antonio, Los Angeles or San Diego.
The NFL, as a league, becomes tied to the allegations by way of its Executive Vice President Eric Grubman, who is in charge of stadia and relocations.
“Although Grubman supposedly ‘negotiated’ with Oakland, he actually criticized Oakland’s every move, including its $1.3 billion proposal for a new stadium near the Coliseum, the current home of the Raiders,” states the Complaint. “The Raiders, the NFL, and ultimately the vast majority of NFL Clubs, were just stringing Oakland along as part of their collusive scheme to move the Raiders.”
In December 2016, the City of Oakland did receive preliminary approval to build that $1.3 billion stadium, with an investment of $350 million in public money to help fund a new facility.
The antitrust-related claims in the Complaint revolve around the City of Oakland’s position that the NFL essentially leverages its monopoly power to extract value from municipalities through an auction that ignores the relocation policies that were put in place to ameliorate prior antitrust disputes. Surely biased, the City of Oakland says that every one of the relocation policies’ considerations and factors supported keeping the Raiders in Oakland, but “Oakland was unable to pay Defendants’ cartel fee, so the Raiders are moving and paying a bogus $378 million relocation fee.”
The public loses out from the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.
The City of Oakland says that the public is the biggest loser of the Raiders leaving based on the hundreds of millions of tax dollars that need to be committed to build a new stadium, the payment of relocation fees to NFL team owners, heightened seat licensing fees and ticket prices, as well as lost investment and business opportunities when a city loses a team. Those relocation fees amount to a total of $1.4 billion since 2013.
Claimed losses as a result of the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas includes being left with a stadium of significantly diminished value and lost revenues associated by the Raiders being in Oakland.
“The Raiders’ illegal move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans with the bill,” said City of Oakland attorney Barbara Parker said in a published statement. “The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the defendants accountable and help to compensate Oakland for the damages the defendants’ unlawful actions have caused and will cause to the people of Oakland.”