March 16, 2022

Oakland Goes To High Court To Save Suit Over Raiders Move

The city of Oakland, California, is not giving up its fight over the loss of the NFL’s Raiders franchise, which moved to Las Vegas in 2020, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to revive antitrust claims against the team and the league.

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A Ninth Circuit panel tossed the claims in December, saying Oakland was simply priced out of the market for an NFL team. Because the city was essentially a “nonpurchaser” for an NFL team, it did not suffer any real loss, the panel said.

But in its petition, Oakland argued this was based on an outdated doctrine of “prudential standing” and ignored that the NFL drove up the price in a cartel-like fashion, capping the number of teams and refusing to negotiate with Oakland in good faith. The panel’s reason would mean only a city like Las Vegas, which won the Raiders franchise, would be able to file suit claiming it overpaid for the team.

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“As with all cartels, this allows them to extract supra-competitive prices — here, in the form of outsized contributions from cities that want to host a team, including increasingly exorbitant amounts of public financing for luxurious stadiums,” Oakland said in the petition.

The city added it is “an obvious victim of that scheme: When it was unable to meet the cartel’s demands, the NFL moved the Raiders to Las Vegas. That left Oakland with an empty stadium and millions of dollars in financial losses.”

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