Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tries to convince NFL to keep Raiders in East Bay

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wrapped up her meeting Wednesday with NFL owners in New York where she tried to convince them and Raiders ownership that the team should stay in the East Bay.

VIDEO: NFL town hall takes place in Oakland on Possible Raiders relocation

Schaaf has no publically-financed stadium to tempt the NFL to keep the Raiders in Oakland. So, in New York, she sold NFL leadership the idea of a city on the rise.

"I don't think it's possible any person could have represented the East Bay better than she did," NFL executive Eric Grubman said.

With Schaaf in New York, all Raider fans can do is wait and worry as others decide the fate of their beloved team. "Very frustrating," Save Oakland Sports spokesperson Chris Dobbins said.

Dobbins and his group are wondering just how committed Raiders' owner Mark Davis really is to keeping the team in Oakland, especially now that the Raiders and Chargers have hired Disney CEO Bob Iger to lead their efforts to move to Carson.

"He's trying to get this project in Carson, so he's hired Carmen Policy, one of the best executives in the NFL and now he comes with the Disney money behind this project," Dobbins said.

It might be difficult though for Davis to convince the NFL the Raider fan base is dwindling in Oakland, a key component in the league's relocation process.

The team now has more than 40,000 season ticket holders and the next three games are sold out. "What it comes down to is the color of the blood that run through the veins of professional sports and that's green," former San Francisco 49ers COO Andy Dolich said by phone.

The NFL itself said Iger's announcement was persuasive. "Says very strongly that an NFL return to the Los Angeles market is incredibly attractive," Grubman said.

League officials are expected to make their decision about which of their three teams can move to Southern California early next year. In the meantime, the Raiders lease at O.co Coliseum expires at the end of this season.

Schaaf has been clear that she's not willing to spend public money on a new stadium. Meanwhile officials from St. Louis and San Diego have plans including at least $300 million each in public funds. One Stanford Economics Professor told our media partner, the Contra Costa Times, he's worried Schaaf will just get blown off Wednesday. She's suggesting instead Oakland can provide cheap land for the Coliseum site, issue tax exempt bonds and pay for more than $100 million for improvements. A decision isn't expected until early next year.

One NFL executive says in terms of how the three cities plans are matching up, St. Louis is furthest along, followed by San Diego -- that would make Oakland third.

If the NFL votes to approve the move, Iger would hire the executive responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functioning of the $1.7 billion stadium. "Should the owners approve the move, Los Angeles will proudly welcome two incredible teams to our community and build a stadium worthy of their fans," Iger said in a statement. "LA football fans will enjoy unprecedented access to games during the season, in a state of the art stadium designed to deliver the most entertaining, exciting and enjoyable experience possible."

If Mayor Schaaf is going to rely on fan passion she could face a tough battle. A new poll of Oakland residents found of 16 priorities, keeping the Raiders came in last. Adding a big CEO star to the fight, won't help.

Get the latest on the Oakland Raiders here

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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