Oakland Group Proposes NFL’s First Black-Owned Team

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Written by Ann Brown
Oakland
An Oakland group of business owners, the African-American Sports & Entertainment Committee, wants football to return to the city with the NFL’s first Black-owned team. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis reacts as the team warms up before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

An Oakland business group, the African-American Sports & Entertainment Committee, wants football to return to the city with the NFL’s first Black-owned team. The group is expected to send a proposal to the NFL to bring a new team to Oakland, which is now without a franchise since the Raiders moved to Las Vegas, SB Nation reported. 

The ownership group is made up of African Americans, which would make the team would be the first in the NFL owned by a group of Black people.

Some are excited about it. Oakland journalist Chris De Benedetti recently tweeted, “It seems obvious to us in Oakland that there is pent-up passion and demand for new teams – especially after the Dubs & Raiders foolishly deserted The Town. My question is this…Is the NFL smart enough to see that, too?”

In the letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, which was reviewed by SFGate, the business group stressed that it will not seek government funds and intends to create a “privately financed, developed, and operated endeavor.” The proposal outlines its plans for ownership as well as a sports stadium complex at the site of the Oakland Coliseum. The proposal will be sent to the NFL office in New York. 

“Historic design, having it be the first African-American owned football team in the NFL,” said Ray Bobbitt, an Oakland business owner and member of the committee, according to KTVU.

NFL rules require that one person put up 30 percent of the cost of the team, which could amount to well over $1 billion. 

“If we couldn’t find someone who was qualified under that rule, second option, a collective between entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainers,” Bobbitt said. 

Bobbitt said he believes there is no better place than Oakland to bring equity and diversity to the NFL. “Something historic in a historic city that has been a host city for 47 years,” said Bobbitt, who co-owns a prominent nightlife venue in San Francisco as well as the Commercial Facility Management and Event Production company in Oakland. “To occur in a community where people have fought for civil justice and social change for so long.”

The plans for a stadium are based on Oakland’s “Coliseum Area Specific Plan” with a focus on helping economic development in East Oakland. The proposal aims to create job opportunities, job training, housing (including affordable housing), and a hospitality area with restaurants, retail and a hotel and convention venue, SFGate reported.

The proposal also discusses a plan to incorporate an African American-centric college or university satellite program in sports and entertainment management, sports management, and police science.