What happens after 2013?

You’re probably aware that the leases for both the Raiders and A’s run out after their 2013 seasons are completed. Problem is for both that neither team can move into a new facility before 2015, whether it’s in Oakland, Santa Clara, or San Jose. Both teams have limited options to play elsewhere, and City and County still have a large mortgage to pay off. It would seem that a simple one-year extension – perhaps with an option year or two – would be simple to ratify.

However, things are not always that simple. The icy relationship between Oakland and the A’s has some within Oakland feeling that they were misled the last time the lease was negotiated, so they may be a much tougher nut to crack this time around. Chances are that the A’s will be paying a good deal more than the $1 million they’ve been averaging, if only to cover the cost of field conversion. The Coliseum Authority has been talking with the Raiders for some time, but Coliseum City doesn’t appear any closer to fruition now than it did over a year ago, when the Authority bought the Home Base site and unveiled the now-evolved plan. With all of that in mind, it’s a good time to explore the teams’ options after the 2013 season.

Raiders

No matter what the two football teams are saying about pursuing separate facilities or not sharing one somewhere, there’s no reason to think that they aren’t getting pressure from Roger Goodell and the other NFL team owners to shack up. There’s little practical reason for them not to do it, since they’d have less debt service to deal with and they would be able to join up instead of compete for precious limited G-4 loan money. Even if they came together, there’s still a year between the end of the Coliseum lease and a new one in Santa Clara or Oakland simply due to the required construction time. What to do then?

  • If a new stadium were being built at the Coliseum complex, it’d be simple. There’d already be a pre-arranged lease extension for the bridge year, and the new stadium would be configured to minimize impact on the existing Coliseum.
  • If the existing Coliseum were being gutted, the Raiders would have to endure one year of reduced capacity (47,000) and come back to a practically new stadium. 2014 could be the bridge year and leave 19-20 months to complete everything.
  • If the Raiders chose to go to Santa Clara, which to me would be a last-minute decision for the franchise, they could either rely on goodwill with Oakland and Alameda County to get the 2014 lease in place, especially if they “promise” that the Santa Clara move wasn’t permanent.
  • It seems highly unlikely that the Raiders would play 2014 in either Candlestick Park, Cal’s Memorial Stadium or Stanford Stadium. The colleges don’t want the headaches, and the ‘Stick would only be an option if the Coli were unavailable for some reason.

One strategic issue for me is, Did Oakland/Alameda County push for a Coliseum revamp? A new stadium may be prohibitively expensive, whereas a revamp could provide all of the necessary amenities for half the cost. Does the NFL consider the Coliseum damaged goods? The G-4 loan program specifies funding for existing facilities, and it’s believed that the Bills will try to use this funding for Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, and that place can’t be measurably worse than the Coliseum (especially in its football guise).

The A’s could conceivably throw a wrench into the works by negotiating on a new facility at the Coliseum (like that’s going to happen under this ownership group). There would be enough land to build a new ballpark at the Home Base/Malibu site, and the existing Coliseum could be left intact for 2014. Or if the A’s tried to save money by leveraging what they could from the current Coliseum, the Raiders would be forced out.

Athletics

Mutual distrust between the team and City/County leads me to believe that any lease negotiations won’t be sunny. The A’s would need a facility for at least a year. Renting out Cashman Field for two series, as was done when Mt. Davis was being built, won’t fly for an entire season. Oakland wouldn’t have much incentive for renewal if they knew the team were leaving immediately after the lease was up, unless they got a lot of money for that one year or there was enough negative PR that came with refusing the A’s request out of spite. Unlike the Raiders, the A’s options would be wildly varied and mostly suboptimal.

  • Expansion of 4,200-seat San Jose Municipal Stadium to even 15-20,000 seats is impractical because the team facilities are clearly nowhere close to major league standards. Improving these enough to make it acceptable would probably cost $15-20 million, which would be crazy to pay for one year of play and little return on that investment.
  • The Earthquakes’ 18,000-seat stadium is soccer-specific, and MLS is not going to go along with sharing yet another facility.
  • Building another stadium alongside the Quakes’ stadium at Airport West would require a new EIR and probably wouldn’t go anywhere politically.
  • There’s the possibility of sharing AT&T Park for a year, but that would be entirely up to the Giants. There’s also a logistical issue at play. When Shea Stadium was used by both the Mets and Yankees for a year while Yankee Stadium was getting rebuilt, it already had enough team facilities because it was built as a multipurpose stadium. AT&T Park has only two clubhouses and scant room to build new ones. Where would the A’s or their road opponents go?
  • The A’s could play a season at the River Cats’ Raley Field in West Sacramento, but it’s even more limited than AT&T Park. At least there’d be a political path towards making it work as a temporary facility.
  • Candlestick’s pretty much “stuck” in its football configuration, so it’s unlikely that the A’s would play there.

The Raiders could throw a wrench into any 2014 lease plans if they agreed to rebuild the Coliseum, so that’s yet another complication. Unless cooler heads prevail, the A’s will be in a tough spot figuring out what to do for 2014. At this early juncture, my guess is that the A’s and the Coliseum Authority will figure something out, but the A’s will pay handsomely for the privilege. If something interferes, 2014 is up in the air for the A’s, and there’s no telling where they’d land. And if a delay forces them to not open Cisco Field until 2016? Yikes.

33 thoughts on “What happens after 2013?

  1. When SJ hosted the Grand Prix downtown there were temporary grandstands and suites installed along the course. Couldn’t the same arrangement happen at SJ Muni for a year RM? That would be awesome to have the A’s in SJ even while Cisco Field is being built.

  2. ML,
    Raiders will be playing in SoCal (coliseum? rose bowl?) while one of the two sites currently proposed down there is being built.

  3. Ironic that by all measures the updated Coli for football is only 15+ years old—part of me wonders what the raiders would hope to gain by moving into SC—they have luxury suites that they can’t sell today–would the lure of a new stadium be enough to put bodies in suites…or is it the corporate potential of Silicon Valley–otherwise why not stay in Oakland at your relatively young football only stadium once the A’s move out and be the only team in town?

  4. @ plrraz – With the A’s gone to SJ and the Warriors to SF, and now the Raiders moving to LA… I guess Oakland is SOL. Wow!

  5. A poster on a Raiders fan site says he has inside info and that we should expect an announcement, in regards to a new stadium, from the Raiders and the city of Oakland sometime this month. Don’t know if there’s any validity to this or if there will be any substance, but he was talking up the Oakland Live idea beforehand.

  6. If Oakland can build a $1B football stadium while still paying off the $150M of their hangover from the Raiders remodel 15 years ago more power to them….just having a hard time believing it—

  7. eb,
    I wish it were so. Just where exactly is the financing going to come from? The Raiders are gone. If we are lucky, they will remain in the Bay Area, sharing a stadium with the niners.

    Do you have a link to the fan site?

  8. I’ll find the post. It has been buried under since the last game and the new GM. Everything I’ve read seems to point to the Chargers as the number one option in L.A. I doubt they would have two teams from the same division, let alone conference in the same city. Though, it would be nice to hear the Raiders say they are dedicated to Oakland/Bay Area. They have been followed by LA rumors since they got back.

  9. @ eb what website?

  10. Strange, I just posted the site and the link…It’s being blocked? Ml, erase this if you don’t want it here. RAIDER FAN NET page 12, CA Supreme Court Strikes Blow to Stadium Plans for 49ers, AEG LA, and Chargers

  11. @ML–Candlestick could be an option if the ‘9ers are successful in moving into SC for the 2014 season–not that I like it but if the Coli tried to play hardball with a ridiculous lease always nice to have options–and considering at that point there is a good possiblity that your attendance in Oakland is going to be about 10k a game not sure it will matter that much–

  12. How about Stockton? Braden would be in love.

  13. I read that article. Some insane poster said this: “Corporate money runs the NFL. You and I are unimportant…” I know he’s talking about the NFL but, wow! Have we really come this far? We have actually gone from sporting events designed to entertain people (families) to a money-hungry business that relies on corporations for their sustainability? My father grew up in Indiana and he told me he would save the nickels and dimes he earned from mowing lawns as a young boy and purchase a train ticket to Chicago and a ticket to the Cubs game. Call me old. Call me sentimental. Whatever. If that’s the way major league sports owners view the “average” fan then the hell with them. XYZ Computers, Inc. bought a luxury box worth $X mil. Awesome! When XYZ company bankrupts who will take up the slack? Look, I’m a money guy. I won’t lie about that because I’d be a hypocrite. However, isn’t the whole point of sporting events to entertain the people, especially families with small children? Most families, nowadays, wouldn’t be able to afford tickets for the nuclear American family. If corporations are all that matter then so be it. It just sounds very much like a bubble mentality to me if that’s true. There are always cyclical ups and downs and what will they do when there is a period of a 5-year economic downturn? Let me guess. “Hey fans. I know we’ve been ignoring you for the past XXX years but we’d love for you to support us during this economic downturn… until we don’t care for you any longer.” I call BS on this whole thing.

  14. What’s unfortnate is that MLB’s delay in rendering a decision has put the A’s in this predicament. I’m sure Wolff at the time he signed the current lease had no idea the ballpark issue would drag on for so long. My hope is that they can work out a deal with the CA for a 1 year lease, with an option for a 2nd year.

  15. I know there is a small, passionate group that is dying to keep the A’s. But I’m certain that if it became a choice to reconstruct the Coliseum for football or baseball, it’s all about the Raiders. Not me, I’m still bitter that they ruined the Coliseum. I loved it before, even sat in the bleachers for the All-Star game in ’87. But given the choice, I think the Raiders win going away.

  16. @fc–completely agree—although given the timeframe on the land purchase option that lw got from SJ I figure he realizes that this is gonna go on even a bit longer–he was recently quoted saying no vote will take place next week—after this long there is no way bs can screw him much more than he has–so still believe it will happen—just amazed its dragged on for this long—and who knows–if the mortgage at ATT is the primary driver for TR payout the closer you get to 2017 the less that payment becomes…

  17. @Columbo- I’m definitely no lover of corporate America, but it’s not stictly the corporations they are going after, it’s the rich important people who work for corporations. These people have families too, and many many ‘friends’ they need to entertain. BTW If XYZ Computers goes bankrupt, ABC Software is next on the waiting list for a suite. This is where the depth of the local corporate presence is felt, which is why it’s useless to point to one or two giants as evidence of sufficient corporate presence *cough* Clorox *cough cough* Chevron.

  18. While I doubt the scenario suggested above that the Raiders are suddenly going to find 1 billion dollars to build Coliseum City, the Raiders suddenly being given priority by a spiteful Oakland could put the A’s in quite a pickle. Normally the answer would seems simple, share Pac Bell in the interim. But we all know that’s not happening, particularly not if the Giants are forced to give up their territorial privileges unwillingly. San Jose Muni isn’t even a viable minor league stadium anymore compared to it’s league mates in places like Stockton and Lake Elsinore, so there’s no way it works as a temp venue for the A’s even on a short term basis. Nor are any of the college fields at Stanford, Santa Clara or Cal viable due to size limitations. St. Mary’s new venue might work for a year structurally, but accesswise there’s not way you’d get the city of Moraga or the roads to the stadium to support 15-20k coming to games. As ML pointed out Candlestick is indeed stuck as a football venue and shoehorning a baseball field into a soccer or college football field is beyond problematic.

    Honestly, Raley Field in Sac seems it would be the only relatively viable option with maybe some temporary grandstands placed where the berm seating is down the lines and in the outfield for the year hopefully bumping capacity upwards of 15-20k. The facilities are somewhat adequate toward MLB standards internally, field is big enough, etc… Only other real addition they’d need to make is additional stadium lighting on the standards for TV purposes.

  19. They could go the way of Los Natspos and barnstorm in places like Fresno and Sacramento for a home stand here and there. Play some games in SF. Not ideal but maybe a way to build a larger regional fanbase

  20. Speaking of corporate support, Dave Kaval of the Quakes was on Chron Live and mentioned that nine of 12 suites have already been sold in the new stadium. Pretty cool for what some would consider a minor sport.

  21. The Raiders will move in with the 49ers for 5-10 years while the Coliseum is torn down a new one is built. I was reading somewhere renovating the Coliseum is problematic because of the fact it is under sea level.

    It will take years for Oakland to pull this off for one team as we can all see clearly the 49ers are well on their way to Santa Clara for a 2014 opening.

    The NFL loan has not been announced because I know they have told the 49ers and Raiders to sit down and come to an agreement. No way in this CBA will they give money for 2 Bay Area stadiums. The Raiders will have to wait until the new CBA in 2021 before moving back to Oakland.

    As for the A’s……they will play it out at the Coliseum until they move to San Jose. Oakland will be no position to renovate or tear down the Coliseum in 2014. They will take the A’s money since they need every penny they can get.

    2015 will be a great year for Bay Area sports. 49ers/Raiders in SC and the A’s in Cisco Field in Downtown San Jose.

    Both privately financed with little taxpayer money and for the people! Now if we can only get another NBA team out here….

  22. A season at Raley Field would be kinda awesome.

  23. If the A’s move to San Jose, they’ll play 2014 either at AT&T Park or the Coliseum. If the A’s are moving, that means there’s some kind of settlement or resolution with the Giants. MLB could simply make the temporary rental of AT&T (and the millions of extra dollars it would mean for the Giants) part of the settlement, if needed.
    .
    Neither the Giants nor the City of Oakland are going to turn down millions of dollars of windfall money out of spite. The Giants are a business; if and when they lose the battle on T-rights, they have no reason to turn down money. Oakland simply can’t afford to turn down money out of spite; they’d have a citizens revolt.

  24. My passion for Oakland aside, how cool would it be if the A’s played in At&t for a year and somehow they miraculously won a championship. The idea of winning a World Series on the Giants’ field, while Larry Baer blows a gasket is the stuff dreams are made of.

  25. agreed with some of the statements above. i can’t see the a’s not playing in oakland in 2014 before a cisco field opening in sj in 2015. the coliseum and the city of oakland needs the a’s for that one year just for the small amount of money they’d get, like others have said oakland can’t turn away any kind of money in the near future even if they deep down want to spite the a’s org.

    if the santa clara stadium opens for the 2014 season which would mean the contruction would begin sometime soon within maybe spring time which would give about 2.5 years for a stadium to be built which is cutting it close. usually takes closer to 3 years to build an nfl stadium. metlife in nj broke ground in early september 2007 and opened in early april 2010.

  26. nightengale sticks behind his tweet from christmas weekend about the a’s having the okay from mlb privately for sj.
    ….
    “@DaleTafoya: @BNightengale Do you still stand by your Tweet that #Athletics have received private assurance from MLB regarding San Jose?Yes”

  27. Everyone keeps saying that the Coliseum would for sure be the home of the A’s in 2014 because Oakland needs the money. But I remember reading something, it may have been on this site a few years ago, that the city of Oakland would actually make more money off the Coliseum if the A’s weren’t playing due to it being costly to even have the venue open compared to the pittance of rent the A’s pay. Oakland would actually be better off financially NOT allowing the A’s to play in 2014 if that were indeed the case.

  28. @Dan – I’m pretty sure that the Coliseum would negotiate for an extra million or two just to offset the costs. Whether the Coliseum is vacant or “filled” it’s still a money pit.

  29. If the A’s needed to play in AT&T Park, they wouldn’t have to do 81 games there. Considering that three of those games would be inter-league “home” games for the A’s, that leaves 78 games with potential conflicts. However, the ‘barnstorming’ idea is a good one, and they could play a few series in Sacramento and Fresno to help alleviate the scheduling conflicts. That would mean they’d only have to do 60-66 home games in SF.

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