When Tucson attorney Ali Farhang heard that the Oakland Raiders needed a place to play their home games in 2019, he made a phone call to Raiders President Mark Badain, and invited the Raiders to Tucson.
“It was good, you know they’ve been searching for a location to play for quite a while and there’s a lot of nuance to it. You know, they were very candid and clear that listen, we are looking at a lot of things and there’s a possibility, but as soon as they opened the door at all that there was even the slightest possibility, we’ve been full speed ahead because there is really nothing to lose,” said Farhang.
The Raiders and the city of Oakland are currently entangled in a legal battle concerning the team’s planned move to Las Vegas in 2020. The team has played in the Coliseum since 1995 when the last renovations were completed, but its ownership has been seeking a more modern stadium to call home in recent years. The team recently held a groundbreaking for their future corporate headquarters and practice facility near Las Vegas where they are building a new $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat stadium.
As a founder of the Tucson Sugar Skulls, Farhang is competent regarding the benefits of local sports franchises, and was quick to stress the positive economic impact that the Raiders would bring to Southern Arizona.
“When you have the Raiders in Southern Arizona and with young fans and people coming up from Mexico, New Mexico, Southern California, you are absolutely going to build the fan base for the Raiders, I am confident of that,” said Farhang. “It’s a win-win for our city, win-win for the Raiders.”
The Raiders are also considering other temporary locations around San Francisco including Levi’s Stadium and Oracle Park.