Tucson, Birmingham team up to create proposal for hosting Raiders next season

Could the Raiders play in Tucson next season?
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Posted at 9:31 AM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 00:16:45-05

In January, the Arizona Daily Star reported that Tucson-based attorney Ali Farhang reached out to the Oakland Raiders about having the Raiders play their home games at Arizona Stadium in the 2019 season.

On Tuesday, the Daily Star reported that Farhang has escalated his efforts by teaming with William Parker, the city council president pro tem in Birmingham, Alabama, to draw up a new plan, in which the Raiders would split their 2019 home games between Birmingham and Tucson.

Farhang confirmed those plans in an email to ABC15 on Tuesday.

"Tucson and Birmingham are proposing a collaboration to see if such a scenario would be attractive to the Raiders. It’s just at the proposal stage at this point," Farhang said.

The Raiders are moving from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2020, but with their lease expired in Oakland and their stadium in Las Vegas still under construction, the NFL franchise is looking for a temporary home for the upcoming season. Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, is reportedly another possibility.

In January, the Daily Star reported Farhang contacted Raiders president Marc Badain in an attempt to entice the team to play its 2019 home games at Arizona Stadium, home of the University of Arizona football team since 1929.

The Daily Star reported Farhang received approval from UA president Robert Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke, along with Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill and the office of Governor Doug Ducey, before contacting the Raiders.

Arizona Stadium has a seating capacity of 57,400. FieldTurf was installed at the stadium in 2013, replacing natural grass. Under the new proposal, the Raiders would play half of their home games there, and the other half at Legion Field, home of the UAB football team and the Alliance of American Football's Birmingham Iron. Legion Field has a seating capacity of over 70,000.

Farhang has an ownership stake with the Tucson Sugar Skulls, a new Indoor Football League, and he helped create the Arizona Bowl, which is also played at Arizona Stadium. "I’d really like to bring our Tucson leaders to Oakland, meet with the Raiders brass and show them why this is the perfect Raiders move," Farhang told the Daily Star in January.

ESPN's Paul Gutierrez speculated in December that State Farm Stadium in Glendale, home of the Cardinals, could also be a temporary option for the Raiders.