The Raiders will host a home game in London. If, that is, they can secure the legal ability to do so.
As pointed out by Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com, the team’s lease requires all home games to be played in a dilapidated stadium with a baseball infield and a recurring sewage problem.
It’s unknown whether any informal discussions preceded the Raiders’ committing to host a game in London next year. In 2012, the Rams announced that one home game would be played in London for three consecutive years — and then the Rams had to back out of the last two because of lease issues.
In Oakland, the situation is less contentious between landlord and tenant. Still, the Oakland Coliseum and the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority may want concessions that the Raiders may not want to provide.
The fact that the Raiders already have positioned cart before horse gives them a little less leverage in any talks to come.
Based on the current scheduling formula, potential opponents include the Cardinals, 49ers, Bills, Dolphins, Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos. The NFL typically doesn’t export divisional games to London, for competitive reasons.
The 49ers will play in London later this month, making a second straight trip less likely. Given the security issues that arise when the two teams play each other, however, it could make sense to take the Battle for the Bay Area out of the Bay Area.
“We are excited and embrace this great opportunity to assist in building NFL popularity worldwide,” owner Mark Davis said in a statement released by the team. “The Raiders are truly a global brand and we are looking forward to our home-field advantage at the new Wembley Stadium.”
Still, if the Oakland Coliseum and the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority disagree, the deal to play in London could go in the crapper — and the Raiders could be playing that eighth home game in a place that periodically smells like one.
UPDATE 7:18 p.m. ET: It’s accurate that the current lease requires the Raiders to play all home games in Oakland. However, a source with knowledge of the lease tells PFT that it expires after this season. Either way, the Raiders will have to deal with the issue when negotiating the next stadium lease.