SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Oakland Raiders still in negotiations to sign a one-year lease to play at O.co Coliseum for the 2016 season, Raiders owner Mark Davis remains in search of a permanent home for his franchise.
And with Oakland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego and San Antonio all mentioned as potential sites, Davis was asked Friday why he will not consider moving in with the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
“Again, I don’t think it fits the Raiders,” Davis said, following the press conference announcing the Raiders playing host to the Houston Texans in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca on Monday Night Football on Nov. 21.
“There’s three words that mean something to me in a stadium, in a location, and that’s ingress, egress and parking. The Raiders on gameday, if you’re around our stadium, if you see our parking lot before the game, it’s probably the biggest non-denominational gathering on a Sunday morning that you’ll ever find. And I’m not going to give that up.”
Davis then asked a national reporter if he had ever seen a pregame tailgate party at a Raiders home game. The reporter had not, and Davis said abandoning that unique street party happening was not in his plans.
“I’m not going to do that,” Davis said. “That’s just part of the Raider gameday experience, and I just can’t give that up. I just don’t believe that they have that in Santa Clara. They’ve got other things. The 49ers are bringing their own gameday experience but the Raiders and Raider fans have their own.
“You take those three words (ingress, egress, parking) and you can figure it out from there.”
No matter where the Raiders play in 2016, though, they will be giving up a home game in order to “play host” to the Texans in Mexico. The stadium capacity will be reduced from 103,000 to 87,000 and there is no guarantee of a bye week following the international game, though Mexico City is in the Central time zone.
Davis said he had no trepidations about giving up the home date.
“None whatsoever,” he said. “I’ve always believed in Mexico City, the Hispanic fan base of the Raiders and how large it is. It just makes all the sense in the world.
“The only thing that really concerns us is the altitude.”
Mexico City has an elevation of 7,382 feet, compared to Denver’s mile-high altitude of 5,690 feet at its peak.
The Raiders often go to Denver a day in advance of their usual itinerary to help their bodies adjust and Davis sees his team doing the same in Mexico, though he said the decision would be up to general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Jack Del Rio.
Davis was again also asked about his interest in Southern Nevada after last week’s visit with Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and UNLV officials to tour potential stadium sites.
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” he cracked.
But what about it being a possible NFL city?
“It’s absolutely a possible NFL city,” he said.
Despite the NFL’s historic stance on gambling?
“Again, there’s timing,” Davis said. “I think that’s the word that you’d have to put on it but it’s absolutely an NFL city.
“It’s an international city. It’s a global city. Again, the Raiders are a global brand so it’s got potential.”