LOS ANGELES--THE RAIDERS will stay in Los Angeles afte all, provided the Coliseum undergoes a very substantial renovation and the stadium's private managers live up to the terms of an agreement whose full details will never be made public.
But, at a value approaching $200 million, Los Angeles finally managed to outbid Oakland, Sacramento and Irwindale and give team owner Al Davis more than he could get in the other cities.
Davis said yesterday he had chosen Los Angeles over Oakland in a "tough" and "emotional" late night decision. Ed Snider, chief of Spectacor Limited Partnership, which will reconstruct and manage the Coliseum facility, said Davis will enter into a 20-year lease to stay as soon as the new Coliseum is ready.
The latest agreement is not certain to last. It is contingent on a satisfactory environmental impact report on the renovation and adequate financing, although the parties expressed confidence both would be forthcoming.
Yesterday's developments marked the third time in the last three years that Davis has announced where his NFL team will play in the future, each time in a different place.
In 1987, it was going to be Irwindale. Last spring, it was going to be Oakland. Both deals fell apart, and all Davis would say definitely yesterday was that this time he was "hoping" that this deal, privately-financed unlike the others, would actually go through.
Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley voiced great enthusiasm about Davis' latest choice.
"The jobs and economic activity that a professional football team generates is here to stay," Bradley said in a statement from London, where he is on a trade mission. "The Raiders will continue to call the historic Los Angeles Coliseum home. This is a reason for all football fans and admirers of the Coliseum to celebrate."
The mayor had pursued the talks with the Raiders last spring when almost everyone else thought their move to Oakland was a foregone conclusion. Yesterday Davis paid tribute to the mayor for his shrewdness in not giving up.
"You have to make a choice," Davis said. "Los Angeles kept us here on its own merits. It was very competitive . . . We are convinced there is a very loyal fan base here and we're going to try to do everything possible to make the Raiders a great football team in the future."
Davis said he has been told by Snider that all environmental impact reports, financing details, architectural drawings and other preliminaries may be complete by the end of the team's 1991 season and that the Raiders and USC -- another major Coliseum tenant -- will be playing in a new Coliseum by the 1993 season.
In 1992, Davis said yesterday, the Raiders may play in Dodger Stadium, Anaheim Stadium, or they may play all their games on the road. Actually, other sources said, Dodger Stadium appears to be the most likely possibility.
Other than that, both Davis and Snider were vague about the details. Snider and his Spectacor colleague, Tony Tavares, said the contract contained an agreement between the two parties that neither would ever divulge its contents.
Two officials who had been close monitors of the talks and had done a great deal to expedite them in recent months, Deputy Mayor Mark Fabiani and Coliseum Commissioner Richard Riordan, said they understand that these are the main points of the Raiders-Spectacor agreement:
* The Coliseum, while its exterior walls and historic peristyle end will be maintained, will undergo a major interior reconstruction costing a projected $145 million. Between 150 and 225 luxury boxes will be added, and the capacity of the Coliseum will be revised downward from the present 92,500 to about 70,000 for Raiders games and 85,000 for USC games.
* The Spectacor Limited Partnership, which in contrast to other Spectacor companies is Snider's own company, will make a total of $32 million in cash payments to the Raiders.
* The Coliseum Commission's $58 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Raiders was dismissed, per the agreement, Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, and $10 million that the Raiders allegedly owed the Coliseum from cash advances and rent credits awarded in the 1980s will be forgiven.
* The Coliseum reconstruction will be finished before anything is done on site toward building a new Sports Arena for the Los Angeles Clippers basketball franchise.