The Trib’s Matthew Artz reports that Oakland had another secret meeting, this time with the NFL about a new Raiders stadium in the Coliseum complex. Unlike the MLB-Oakland meeting, team ownership was on hand in the form of Mark Davis. Not much was revealed about the nature of the meeting, though we can guess that the NFL wanted to know more about how the feasibility study is going. The Raiders have chosen to be the only team to sign on with the Coliseum City project, which the City is pushing as a second downtown, anchored by one or more sports franchises.
What I’d like to know is how much the City and the Raiders are on the same page. Mayor Jean Quan seems to be pushing for a stadium-cum-convention center, with the stadium part possibly having a retractable roof. Does Davis also want that, or does he simply want an outdoor football stadium? The latter would presumably be much simpler to accomplish. The former would be much more expensive and risky, though it sets up the possibility that there could be more revenue streams to help pay off the new complex.
The NFL is no stranger to this process, as anyone who’s followed the exhausting saga of the Minnesota Vikings can attest. They hold the purse strings, and while I’m doubtful that the league will hand Oakland a fat nine-figure investment for a second Bay Area stadium, the NFL and the Raiders are at least going about their due diligence. We won’t know anything substantial until the feasibility study is released, which probably won’t happen until the end of this year or after the football season.
Another thing I’m interested in is how Raider fans feel about the team playing inside a retractable dome. I’ve seen 4 NFL games in domes, including one at Cowboys Stadium while the roof was closed. Even if the roof is open, it doesn’t feel like an outdoor game. And being in an enclosed space doesn’t guarantee that the stadium will be noisier. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the loudest stadia in the NFL and it’s almost completely exposed to the elements. Raider crowds at the Coliseum are among the most boisterous in the country, and the “sealed” environment of a dome can sometimes sap that energy. At other times a dome can enhance crowd noise (New Orleans). It’s one of the many issues the Raiders and Raider fans will need to discuss going forward, as the team and the league have made it clear that the Coliseum as it stands is not a long-term solution.
P.S. – Artz mentions that the Coliseum complex is 750 acres. It’s actually 100 acres plus the Home Base and Malibu lots, pushing the publicly-owned stadium complex to more like 120 acres. 750 acres is the size of both “redevelopment zones” on either side of 880, including the Coliseum complex.