The city of Oakland announced it will file a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, the Raiders and the 31 other franchises over the Raiders' decision to move to Las Vegas.
The office of the city attorney disclosed the lawsuit Tuesday in a news release, stating it is seeking “a resolution for the maximum amount of damages available” that include lost revenue. The lawsuit alleges that when the NFL approved the Raiders relocation in March of 2017 by a 31-1 vote, the league and the Raiders violated antitrust laws by “boycotting Oakland.”
The press release, however states that the lawsuit is not asking to block the Raiders move to Las Vegas nor keep the franchise in Oakland.
“The defendants brazenly violated federal antitrust law and the league’s own policies when they boycotted Oakland as a host city,” Oakland city attorney Barbara J. Parker said in the statement. “The Raiders’ illegal move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans with the bill. 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.”
The release also alleges that the NFL has used the threat of relocation to try to squeeze public funding out of prospective cities to help build or renovate stadiums. The Raiders' move included $750 million in public funds from Las Vegas to help build a new stadium.
The lawsuit will be filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, with help from law firms Berg & Androphy and Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Raiders team president Marc Badain declined comment when asked whether the lawsuit would prevent the Raiders from playing in Oakland next season.
The team’s lease with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum expires after this season, and the team’s proposed stadium in Las Vegas will not be ready until at least the 2020 season. The team has not revealed any plans regarding where next season’s home games will be played.
The Coliseum, which the Raiders share with the MLB’s Oakland A’s, first opened in 1966 and is widely considered to be one of the most outdated stadiums in the league. At the time the league’s ownership approved the team’s relocation to Las Vegas, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league tried to keep the Raiders in Oakland but cited difficulties in talks with the city to build a new stadium in the area.
The Oakland City Council voted to authorize the lawsuit on July 24, 2018.
The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the planned filing.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.