(USA Today) -- The Oakland Raiders' lease with the O.co Coliseum ends after the 2014 season, and the city of Portland is waiting to pounce on an opportunity to bring an NFL franchise to the state of Oregon.
A petition has been postedto Oregon governor John Kitzhaber to pursue the possibility. It states:
"Bringing an NFL team to Oregon would dramatically increase the footprint of this state, bring tax revenue, create jobs and create a multi-use venue that would increase tourism. Portland is the nation's largest metropolitan area that is served by only one of the Big Three Major League sports organizations.
"While there is typically a significant public cost to building an NFL stadium, the state of Oregon should actively pursue feasibility studies, projections and explore the possibilities. The study should explore the possibilities of a new NFL stadium-centric development surrounded by ancillary mixed-use development designed to bring multiple benefits to Portland and surrounding areas, including economic, real estate, retail, tourism, entertainment, sports, recreation, cultural and community pride benefits. The signees of this petition support further exploration of this."
No specific team is named in the petition, which already obtained over 1,500 signatures, but the website for the petition asks the question, "The Oregon Raiders?"
The mayor of Tualatin, Oregon, Lou Ogden, said he would welcome discussions with the organization about a possible move to the city. Tualatin is where the Portland Trailblazers' training facility is located and it offers access to the nearby Interstate-5, making it an ideal candidate for a stadium location.
Portland is an untapped media market for the NFL. It's rated as the 22nd biggest television market in the United States, according to stationindex.com. If Portland were to acquire a team, it would be the 18th biggest market in the league. Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Baltimore, San Diego, Nashville, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Buffalo, New Orleans and Green Bay are smaller.
Portland's biggest competition will come from the city of Los Angeles. The NFL hasn't had a team in the second-largest media market over the past 20 years. But it may not be the Raiders returning to the City of Angels. Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought 60 acres of real estate in Los Angeles in January, and it's speculated his team could return to their previous home.
If the city of Oakland can't raise the funds for a new stadium or promise upgrades to the new stadium within the year, the Raiders could very well be looking for a new home. And Portland is more than willing to woo a franchise to their city limits.
Thoughts of football in the state of Oregon would migrate from the Ducks' high-flying offense and radical uniform combinations to represent the black and silver of Raider nation.