Al Davis said today he will leave the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1992 and move the Raiders back to Oakland, the city where they became famous, Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson announced this afternoon.
"He's ready, and we're ready," said Wilson. "Now Oakland will become the sports capital of the world."
Wilson said that Davis called just before noon to accept a package of about $660 million from the city and Alameda County--including a "loan" to Davis of about $68 million that will not have to be repaid.
Davis himself made no public announcement.
Before the deal becomes official, the terms must be formally offered by the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which will meet tonight in an unusual joint session to vote.
Asked today if he has the votes on the City Council to pass the agreement, Wilson said, "I believe I do."
Davis still has two years to run on his lease to play the Raiders' eight yearly home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He plans to honor that lease or reach an agreement with the Coliseum Commission to cancel it, Wilson said.
In recent weeks, Davis had reportedly been offered a fee of about $70 million, plus a share of the revenue from 200 new luxury boxes and thousands of club seats, if the Raiders would stay in Los Angeles at the Coliseum. The historic stadium was also to be thoroughly rebuilt, with the familiar, gray outside walls left intact.
Over the weekend, the Coliseum's private managers tried to fashion a sweeter offer that would entice Davis to keep the Raiders in Los Angeles. But they were unsuccessful.
Oakland's offer of about $660 million includes at least $28 million a year in guaranteed ticket revenues and $53.5 million to expand the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Oakland and Alameda officials also want the Raiders to pay about $1 million toward stadium improvements.
Oakland officials had given Davis until 5 p.m. last Friday to decide if he would return to the city and stadium where the Raiders played before moving to Los Angeles in 1982.
But on Friday Wilson and Don Perata, chairman of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, postponed the deadline until today at Davis' request.
If the unpredictable Davis had not called by noon today, they planned to withdraw the offer and cancel tonight's special meeting of the council and supervisors.
Oakland officials said Davis is excited about the move.
"We didn't have to call him," Perata said. "He said . . . 'this was a momentous day for the Raiders' organization.' To say he was upbeat would not do justice to his mood."
Faced with a similar deadline recently from the City of Sacramento, which also sought the Raiders, Davis refused to comply with the demand. Sacramento officials then withdrew their offer to pay Davis $50 million in public funds to be raised through bonds.
In 1987, Davis was paid $10 million by the Irwindale City Council for announcing he would move the Raiders there. But the deal fell through and Davis apparently kept the money.