Struggling in The Town

Let’s go back two weeks. Lost in the glorious vengeance that usually comes with an Al Davis press conference was a question about a future stadium from KPIX’s Kim Coyle. Davis admitted that he is not involved day-to-day in the work, but he pressed the notion that the Raiders need a new stadium… somewhere. Go 24 minutes into this video to get the question and response. Below is the text.

“The best place for a site is the Oakland Coliseum. It really is. Traffic-wise, the BART, all those amenities that go there – it’s the best place. BUT. If they can’t get it done, you’re gonna have to use other avenues. You’re gonna have to do other things. And we need a new stadium.

“I mean we’re no different just like someone here brought up, being able to compete… If we’re going to be able to compete we need a new stadium.”

“And we want the Raider Nation, we want the fans out there, you gotta support us.”

“Someone said we had 22,000 (season tickets). We’re at the low end or close to the low end and we’ve gotta to do better. That’s just the facts.”

After the press conference officially ended, Davis talked a bit more. Asked about the impact of the new CBA and the extension of the regular season to 18 games, he said this:

“What does a club do that’s in a depressed area like Oakland, where we find out that the fans don’t have all the money we’re hoping they do?” Davis asked. “What do the Raiders do about 18 games, which means another home game? These are important things that we have to decide.”

So you have the short term danger of even more blackouts coming from greater ticket inventory, thanks to 18 games. Yet Davis is clear in favoring Oakland first, as opposed to immediately looking south to Santa Clara or even Los Angeles.

There’s the dilemma. The Coliseum is great from an accessibility standpoint. It is rich in history and legacy. Is that enough? Davis did something no other owner in the Bay Area is really willing to do – talk directly about the elephant in the room, Oakland’s struggles as a city. Unfortunately, to ignore Oakland’s issues is to ignore reality. Yes, there are great places to live within the city limits. Yes, it is only one-sixth of the East Bay’s population and is near many other wealthier cities. But it has issues that make it difficult to consider from the standpoint of funding a near billion-dollar stadium (not to mention a half-billion-dollar ballpark), and Davis has been feeling that pinch for a while. You’re not going to hear outsiders or “carpetbaggers” like Lew Wolff or Joe Lacob talk about this. They’ll dance around it as much as possible. Davis has nothing to lose at this point and has never edited or censored himself for good or bad. His opinion counts more than most other local owners because he’s part of the community, at least much more than Wolff or Lacob. Apparently Davis gets credit for giving the Coliseum a real college try – at his behest no less. If it’s too hard and the Raiders explore those “other avenues,” what then? Does that college try translate into greater goodwill? A shrug? Or will people remember only the endgame?

11 thoughts on “Struggling in The Town

  1. Just my opinion: I think Mr. Davis favors Oakland only because he would be 100% in charge of the situation there. No sharing with the Niners, no sharing with AEG, complete control of the Raiders destiny. But “Farmer$ Field” must be awfully tempting! Santa Clara, probably not so much. Should be interesting over the next few years.

  2. I was in Downtown Oakland for a meeting and the area has so many empty stores and people are loitering around everywhere it is not a good thing.

    The area looked real depressed and it was just sad to see this as even 5-6 years ago the area was doing much better than what I saw 2 weeks ago.

    Oakland, I believe can support a football team (Raiders) and the NBA (Warriors, as long as its a 1 team market). That is because those two sports have fewer games, hence you can build at the Coliseum site and it works.

    Baseball in Oakland is different as it has far more games and it does not have the “aura” around it like football does or even the Warriors who are in the only NBA ticket in the market and play indoors.

    Oakland is not doing well at all and I have no idea “how” they are going to turn it around. Anthony Batts took a terrible situation (Long Beach) and turned it around big time but in Oakland even he sees no end in sight hence his attempted move to San Jose.

    Would I like to see a new stadium for the A’s in Oakland? Yes, only because that is where they have played for so many years.

    Do I think it is realistic? No way because Oakland does not have the corporate base to privately finance the stadium as the City expects.

    San Jose is a much better place for the team and if you don’t agree with me ask Anthony Batts….

  3. I think this thread may get real ugly before R.M. has to shut it down. Until the next thread, I’M OUT!

  4. @TonyD–i totally agree with your opening post. No need for the thread to get ugly, but I’ll chill and stay out of it too.

  5. Good to hear official word on the matter. Maybe it’ll shut up all the obnoxious 49er fans who are openly wishing for the Raiders to move to Los Angeles. Let the damn Chargers deal with that mess.

    Sid, don’t be an ass.

  6. I was 100% referring to the article ML posted about Oakland struggling….I am not trying to be an “ass”.

    5-6 years ago Oakland was in far better shape and I truly believe Uptown should have happened for the A’s during the Hudson-Zito-Mulder days from 2000-2004.

    Just seeing Oakland 2 weeks ago along with the Anthony Batts situation and Al Davis’ remarks tells you something….It may not be what you want to hear but it is reality as you see it on multiple fronts. Neither Batts or Davis is hiding it from public view.

    I am a “obnoxious” 49ers fan and do I want to see the Raiders move to LA? No, only because all the “back and forth” with all my Raider fan friends will go away and that is no fun. My hope is they combine on a stadium and keep the Bay Area a two-team market….Only NY is lucky enough to have that distinction. We are very lucky out here!

    I say Oakland gets it done for the Raiders and the Warriors at all costs. But someone has to lose out and that has to be the A’s.

    As for Batts I say he puts his best foot forward and does is best in Oakland during the last 2 years of his contract. Perhaps things do turnaround and he stays on for 3 more years after 2012.

  7. I’m in agreement with Tony on this one. However, I don’t think Davis has given up on LA. To be honest, I still don’t know why he came back especially after the Rams left.

  8. Rob and I in complete agreement? What da hell is this world coming to? ;o)

  9. I don’t think the ball is in Al’s court when it comes to Farmers Field. The conservative types at AEG don’t want the Raider image plaguing their stadium venture before it even gets off the ground (or rather into it). Watch Ice Cube’s 30 for 30 and you’ll see that the Raiders are confined to a niche demographic down south, much more so than in Oakland. The Chargers, Vikings or whoever are blank slates by comparison.

  10. @Rob- With all the damage to the LA Coliseum following the Northridge earthquake Al had no choice but to return to Oakland who had a functioning stadium and promised the luxury suites he so coveted for so many years.

    The second team in Hollywood Park was secondary to the fact Al had no where to play and it was either going to Anaheim or back to Oakland where at least he had a fan base to draw from. The building of Mt. Davis pushed it over the top for him.

    That and the fact the old Coliseum Authority promised sell-outs and as we all know they were lying and Al beat them in court.

    I agree with Nam that LA won’t take the Raiders back for the reasons he stated. The NFL will never allow Al back and are going to force him to share with the 49ers to get something done in the Bay Area.

    Most logical picks- Bills, Jaguars, Vikings, and Chargers…Or take two of them as that works as well.

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