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Jed York not expecting to gain Raiders fans from Oakland


It’s been a whirlwind day in the NFL — and it’s late March, five months away from the regular season. This is why this league is so dominant. The offseason is as fascinating as the games in the fall.

By a 31-1 vote from the NFL owners at their annual meetings in Phoenix, the Raiders are leaving Oakland for Las Vegas by the 2020 season. It was an expected result, but still a dropping of the hammer moment for the East Bay and for Raiders fans all across the globe.

One of those acting owners to vote in favor of the move was 49ers CEO Jed York. Earlier on Monday in an appearance on NFL Network, 49ers GM John Lynch gave a playful plea to Raiders fans, saying the 49ers were “open for business.” Unlike other areas of the country, though, the Bay Area isn’t as intertwined by geography for rooting purposes.

York spoke with ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner┬áto explain.

“The Raiders fans are a unique group,” York said. “I don’t know that they’ve necessarily been loyal to L.A. or to Oakland, I think they have always been loyal to the Raiders. I think you’ll see the Raiders following them wherever they may go, and going to Las Vegas in a few years, I think you’ll see that really take place.

“So for us, I don’t think it’s a big win for the 49ers, but I think it’s a good thing for the National Football League. The Raiders have tried to get a deal done in Oakland for a decade-plus, and they were unfortunately unable to do anything, and I think Las Vegas put together a good opportunity for the Raiders to continue to have a good experience for their overall fan base wherever their fans come from.”

The intersection the Raiders and 49ers may not include fans jumping ship, but it could include sharing a stadium. Reports indicate the city of Oakland is trying to push the Raiders out of the Oakland Coliseum. Owner Mark Davis has a lease signed for the 2017 season and a one-year option for 2018.

But if the situation becomes messier between the city and the Raiders — a likely bet — York may be willing to offer Davis a life raft at Levi’s Stadium. The Las Vegas stadium isn’t expected to be completed until 2020, and the NFL is trying to avoid having the Raiders play at UNLV’s 35,000 person rink-a-dink outfit in 2019. There’s also a possibility the Raiders stay in Oakland for 2019. Nothing is being eliminated one day into this relocation.

The one thing York was adamant about, is that the 49ers will step up their community involvement game in the East Bay once the Raiders officially leave town.

“We might do more in terms of philanthropic outreach and some of the things that we do in the community,” York said. “Obviously, there are underserved areas in the East Bay, and I think that’s a place where we’ll probably try to do more in the long run, but that’s not necessarily, we’re not trying to drum up business from the East Bay.

“We have an unbelievable fan base. I don’t think this is going to be a big financial boon for the 49ers, but I think it’s something that for the Raiders, they have stabilized their team for the next 20 years, and I think that’s going to be a good thing for the league overall.”

 

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