Birmingham, Alabama is partnering with Tucson in a renewed effort to host the NFL's Oakland Raiders for the 2019 season.
Under the new plan, released to the Star on Monday night, the cities would split the hosting duties next season. Arizona Stadium holds 57,400 people and is home to the UA football team and the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Birmingham's Legion Field has a larger capacity — 71,500 — and hosts the UAB college team, the Alliance of American Football's Birmingham Iron and the annual Birmingham Bowl.
Birmingham city council president William Parker and Tucson attorney Ali Farhang are optimistic that a combined effort will lead to more substantive talks between Raiders owner Mark Davis and the cities. Farhang reached out to Raiders officials last month to express Tucson's interest in hosting the team for one season.
THE WILDCAST (BONUS): Could the Raiders make Tucson home in 2019?
The Raiders do not currently have a home; their lease with the Oakland Coliseum has expired, and talks with other Bay Area stadiums have been slow. Raiders officials had hoped to announce their 2019 home by the end of January.
The Raiders plan to move to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season. Their Nevada stadium is currently under construction.