Group proposes to become NFL’s first Black team owners – and bring another team to Oakland

A group of predominantly African American business owners and community leaders have suggested the NFL bring a franchise back to Oakland and become the first black owner group in the league's history.
The urge to bring football back comes when two other sports teams started in The Town, a city that has long been at the forefront of activist movements. The potential group wants to benefit from a passionate fan base looking for a new franchise after the recent NBA (now in San Francisco) Golden State Warriors and NFL (now in Las Vegas) raiders.
These are the fans who booed their team after losing their last game in Oakland - out of passion to lose the franchise overall. They were mostly the ones who spent two hours before each competition playing a matchday person just to get priced out of the Las Vegas stadium. And those who said the families they had built from every home game in the past two decades were "torn apart".
Ray Bobbitt (left), pictured with Raiders Superfan Violator, is in a group that works for a team in Oakland. (Provided by Ray Bobbitt)
Does the group have funding to draw the NFL's attention?
In a letter sent to the NFL, the African American Sports & Entertainment Committee proposed a privately funded expansion team and suggested that the league take into account the current national moment and support the initiative.
The group met informally about three months ago to discuss starting a new team in Oakland. The process accelerated after the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
In the letter, the NFL group thanked Roger Goodell for his public video on the national tragedies and said it was "encouraged" that Goodell said he was listening to the black community. With this in mind, the group says there is “no better place for the new company - symbolic and pragmatic” than Oakland.
"It would only be appropriate for us to show the rich culture and history of Oakland and the Bay Area from a sports and entertainment perspective," said Ray Bobbitt, AASEC member and owner of Oakland, to Yahoo Sports. “We believe Oakland is only a unique opportunity for us to reinvent sport as it is not an institution that only serves the community through entertainment. But we also want to create a scenario in which we can become aware of how you can use it as a permanent economic tool and make really big changes in our community. "
The group said the NFL confirmed that it had received the letter. The league did not respond to Yahoo Sports' request for comment.
The proposal includes plans to form an educational partnership with UC Berkeley and Stanford University, and a sports and entertainment museum in the stadium to showcase Oakland's long history of making stars in their respective fields.
In its proposal, AASEC described three ownership models in detail, since the main owner must pay at least 30 percent of the purchase price in cash according to the current NFL rules. Bloomberg estimates that a buyer would first have to pay at least $ 600 million to win a team with the latest ratings. The teams also have a $ 350 million debt limit.
"We didn't want our proposal to be disqualified immediately," said Bobbitt. "We really wanted to force the public into dialogue about what they promised on television. This was their participation in economic equality, which is part of social justice."
The first option involves securing a black prime owner with the funds necessary to meet the NFL's ownership requirements. The second option is that the NFL could allow exceptions to its current policy in two areas: giving the lender the ability to borrow more funds than is currently allowed, or giving the lender the option to add additional funds (from the NFL approved) to attract investors to secure funding.
The third option suggests a community-based ownership model that is similar to the Green Bay Packers.
"We feel that the African American community is currently unlikely to meet some of the NFL requirements due to economic inequality," said Bobbitt. "So this would be an appropriate time to make some concessions for us."
Retiring teams do not paint a full picture of Oakland's viability
It doesn't seem intuitive that another team would try to assert themselves after the Warriors and Raiders exits in Oakland. Even Major League Baseball's Oakland A have been in a long struggle to stay in the city. Despite the hostility perceived by the local government, the city has remained a sporting mecca for socially-minded teams.
The professional football team Oakland Roots started in 2018 with the realization that a new team cannot simply park a bus in the city, co-founder Edreece Arghandiwal told Yahoo Sports last autumn.
"In a community like Oakland, there are people who polarize enormously and are diverse in terms of body and color, in terms of art, culture and the like," said Arghandiwal. "You can't just throw money at these types of communities."
Arghandiwal and his business partner Benno Nagel, both from Oakland, set about using football as a "vehicle for change". Her team, who play at Laney College, sold out every game in their first season and had an average of just under 5,000 participants.
Another football team, the Indoor Football League's Oakland Panthers, was preparing to start this spring before the COVID-19 pandemic. Marshawn Lynch is a partner. The team's name pays homage to Oakland's involvement in the Black Panther movement of the 1960s.
The Panthers were meant to play in the Oracle Arena (the Warriors' long-time home) and offer an affordable family experience, as opposed to the high prices associated with NFL games.
"We just felt this was a great opportunity and facility, and the timing was right and in a good media market," Scott McKibben, team president and former head of the Oakland Alameda Coliseum Authority, told Yahoo Sports in October. "This is a market in which sponsors and media television stations have a real interest."
Bobbit's group is similar.
AASEC's letter cites a 2016 study commissioned by the NFL that found that Oakland ranks third among NFL markets in terms of forecast economic growth and that GDP will grow in the next 10 to 15 alone Years is expected to be higher than that of San Francisco.
"There is a misperception of the interest of the city government," said Bobbitt. “I think they actually always wanted sports teams here, and I think the main reason the two sports teams actually left is that the city wasn't ready to give public funds - that was really the deciding factor for stadium development and arena development.
"I think Oakland was, in her honor, a city that said," Hey, we have so many other problems that we can't spend money on it. "
So the privately funded plan comes. The proposal builds on a current trend in stadiums and arenas in the Bay Area, such as the Chase Center in San Francisco and Oracle Park.
"The community had to act without the guilt and without the guilt of the fans," said Bobbitt, who tried to stop the raiders from leaving by standing up to the City of Oakland for the NFL lawsuit Damage. "That's why we fought so much."
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