Lawsuit Against Oakland Raiders May Pave Way for NFL's Return to San Diego

The city of Oakland has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit trying to recover damages for the Oakland Raiders' upcoming move to Las Vegas.

This legal maneuver has led to speculation that the Raiders could be playing next season in San Diego.  Let’s slow our jets on that one, but there continues to be a path towards the Silver and Black in San Diego in 2019.

First, let’s go over the facts of the lawsuit, then we’ll tackle the speculation of the Raiders football future.

The suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the Raiders, the NFL and the other 31 clubs seeks lost revenue, money Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs. The suit does not ask the court to prevent the Raiders' move to Las Vegas but asks for damages that will help pay off the approximately $80 million in debt remaining from renovations on the Coliseum.

The city says the defendants violated federal antitrust laws and the league violated its own relocation policies when the teams voted in March 2017 to approve the Raiders' decision to move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders will not move into their new stadium in Las Vegas until the 2020 NFL season, so the suit puts into question where the Raiders will play in 2019. 

The Raiders do not have a lease for a home next year and team owner Mark Davis has previously  said he will not play in Oakland if a lawsuit were filed by the city against the team.

So if the Raiders don’t play in Oakland next season, what are the Raiders options?

San Diego has long been rumored as a potential temporary home. As have San Antonio, Reno, Santa Clara, Fresno and Las Vegas.

San Diego has a strong Raiders fan base and an empty NFL ready stadium.  Although bringing San Diego Consumer Credit Union Stadium up to NFL standards will take a little work, but not much. However, the NFL adding another team to a crowded southern California market, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers are still trying to gain traction in their new locations, seems like a long shot.

As for Santa Clara, the idea is that the Raiders will play in the 49ers Levi Stadium. While that is geographically close, Mark Davis and 49ers officials are reportedly against the idea of sharing the stadium.

Other options include an earlier than expected move to Las Vegas to play in UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium, or a move to  Reno's Mackay Stadium on the University of Nevada Reno campus.

San Antonio has experience as a temporary NFL home, hosting the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina.  San Antonio has previously been tied to Raiders relocation plans and has the 64,000 seat Alamodome.

So, San Diego’s NFL future is very much like its recent past,  we’re just playing the waiting  game, waiting for an NFL team to decide if they want to play in San Diego and waiting for the league to decide our football fate

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