Salt Lake Could Lose Raiders To… Birmingham, Alabama?
Feb 14, 2019, 6:15 PM
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Birmingham city council member is attempting to lure the Oakland Raiders to his town in a joint effort with Tucson, Arizona for a joint bid as options for the team’s 2019 home games.
According to a report from the local NBC affiliate, city council member William Parker went to the NFL headquarters in New York City to get his plan moving forward before having a conversation with Tucson.
The idea apparently coincided with the inaugural season of the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
Parker seemed to be operating alone. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin had no knowledge about the city councilman’s plan to bring an NFL franchise to his town.
BREAKING: Birmingham is partnering with Tucson, AZ in an effort to host the @Raiders for the 2019 season. @citycouncilbham William Parker tells me the plan will be for each city to split hosting duties. #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/xuTohnNEaK
— Kyle Burger (@kyle_burger) February 12, 2019
“I’m unable to communicate anything to you about a proposal, so I couldn’t articulate it to you,” Woodfin said during Tuesday’s council meeting. “There has been nobody on our team that has talked to the Raiders organization, so there’s nothing I can tell you because I don’t know.”
KSL’s Unrivaled has been championing a Raiders move to Salt Lake City for months. Hosts Alex Kirry and Scott Mitchell said that the time for the city to get more involved, like Birmingham, is now.
“If you are smart, every city should say, ‘We’ll take you. We’ve got a football stadium over here.’ It is an NFL franchise,” co-host Alex Kirry said.
Mitchell voiced his passion about getting a deal done in Salt Lake.
“The commissioner is worried and they don’t have a place. They are talking about Birmingham and Tucson. No offense, but we’ve got to do something,” Mitchell said. “We got people who are on Capitol Hill with the legislative session going on. Go to the governor or lieutenant governor.”
Mitchell may have a point. Why not follow what Birmingham is doing and get government officials on board. Talk to someone from the Raiders to gauge the interest, and also decision-makers at the University of Utah to open up Rice-Eccles Stadium.
There are so many benefits to bringing a pro team to town – not only to make fans, but the Raiders could make money by establishing a new fan base in Utah – whether in Salt Lake or Southern Utah, where fans could easily drive to the team’s new home in Vegas starting the 2020 season.
What is also odd about Birmingham being involved, is the location. At least Tucson is near the West Coast, and a better geographical fit for other teams in the AFC West. Salt Lake City is also close geographically, making it so much easier for Raiders fans from California to see a game.
Raiders fans are everywhere, but how many would really show up in Alabama? Think of how it would look when the Raiders take on the Tennessee Titans in Birmingham. There could be more Titans than Raiders fans.
Proximity has the edge for Salt Lake City, but the state needs a hero to step up like William Parker, and make the case for Salt Lake City as the Raiders’ temporary home.