The Ballad of Mark Davis

Imagine that you’re Raiders owner Mark Davis. It’s December and your team is already out of the playoff hunt, headed towards a losing season and a top 10 draft pick. The team has one more season on its lease at the Oakland Coliseum, and while negotiations and studies are ongoing with Oakland and Alameda County, it’s not like you’re not taking calls from interested parties in LA. The 49ers are progressing quickly on their own stadium, which could be a decent temporary landing spot.

In other words, you have options. Prudent financial planning on your parents’ part appears to have kept the controlling interest of the team within the family, though there isn’t the money to put up a huge share towards construction of a new stadium. You could work a two or three-year deal to keep the team in Oakland while things are worked out, or experiment in Santa Clara for a few years.

At the same time, government handouts for stadia have all but dried up, at least in California. The growing number of minority partners will want their piece of whatever deal is made. The Raiders are currently the third least valuable team in the NFL, mostly due to the lack of revenue generated at Coliseum. The 49ers, who were in similar straits a few years ago, are now worth $1.2 billion thanks to their coming stadium and a deep playoff run that generated enough interest and upfront sales to help pay for the stadium. Those upfront sales, which include an alleged $500k/year for high end suite leases, are the replacement for the big government handout.

That’s all well and good when you’re the 49ers and can tap into wealthy San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and have first-mover advantage to boot. When you’re Mark Davis, only a fraction of that kind of money is available to you – at least in the Bay Area. The 49ers are sucking much of the air out of the market. In Los Angeles that money’s there in spades. And with Phil Anschutz exiting stage left, negotiations with a stadium operator may not be as difficult as they were with Anschutz on board.

Problem for you, Mark, is that if you want to be a first mover on LA, you might want to act when the NFL opens its six-week relocation application window on New Year’s Day, 2013 (or if no one applies in 2013, 1/1/2014). Acting first could provide distinct advantages, such as better lease terms and preferred scheduling if a second team (Chargers, Rams) were to come in. Of course, other teams will be thinking the same thing so that may want to move early too. There’s also the problem of playing one or two years at an interim facility like the LA Coliseum. If you apply for an LA move, it’s almost a certainty that Oakland officials will cease work on Coliseum City, at least the football-centered version of it.

Better to keep your cards close to the vest. Good job on that, for now.

21 thoughts on “The Ballad of Mark Davis

  1. I hate to go back to the same old conversation, but my fear is that the Raiders do commit to Los Angeles, and then Oakland officials start focusing on the A’s… which could cause MLB to pause and stretch this out even further while they wait for Oakland’s fifth, sixth….nth chance.

  2. I’m a big A’s-to-San-Jose guy, and with stadium-specific revenues so important to the MLB, I think the league and the A’s would be much better off in San Jose.

    I certainly believe the residents of the East Buy deserve a team and if all three teams left, there would be quite a vacuum of support in the area. The Warriors have one foot out the door. Because of the incredible revenue-sharing provided by the NFL and a location that’s half-decent for football, I’d be happy for Raider fans to see the Coliseum built as a football-only stadium. Personally, I think the Rams should come back to LA.

    Also, it’s easier for me to empathize with the Raiders when they’re terrible.

  3. I dont know about that lonestranger… the city of Oakland likes mark davis… not lew wolff… its either raiders or nothing…

  4. This is getting confusing. Are the Raiders hoping the A’s leave, so they can build a new stadium at the Coliseum site? Is MLB hoping the Warriors leave, so they can force a new baseball facility where Oracle sits? Is Oakland seriously hoping at this point that no one leaves? Oakland <3s its sports teams!

  5. @berry: Well, then why don’t they just drop their attempt to keep the A’s? Then they can focus on their favorite owner of the Raiders and everything moves forward and everyone is happy? Right?

  6. @LS,
    Have no fear. I believe 1) MLB has already made their decision and what Oakland does (or doesn’t) do at this point is irrelevant. Hence the complicated matter of the situation and hard work of the committee; this isn’t the case if the status quo were to remain. Lastly 2) see the revenue potential of Silicon Valley and the wealthiest city in the nation. MLB is about to make a much needed correction to the Bay Area market for its own good.

  7. Well yes lonestranger… its weird but after reading this site and going to A’s games and asking ppl how they feel about A’s + Oakland.. its sums up that this city is a football/basketball town… but its hard to gauge if Oakland had a new ballpark in Oakland what the numbers would look like… maybe great maybe bad… but on the subject of Mark Davis.. he needs to be like AL and force Oakland to bulid him a stadium or he is GONE!!!

  8. Also, Los Angeles may not such a great choice for the Raiders anyhow. The Raiders moved back to Oakland because of their sparse 30,000-40,000 crowds in LA. The Rams made the St. Louis move for the same reason. The $2.2 billion that the Dodgers owners group paid could have easily bought both an NFL team and a new state-of-the-art NFL stadium – and the Dodgers owners opted for MLB instead. Perhaps the LA area is not an NFL region (the bay area certainly is though)

  9. @duffer – Remember that LA had two teams in the city for the entire time the Raiders were there. Plus they were in a bad stadium with a rough crowd. While a return to LA wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the crowd problems, I bet a lot of them would be priced out of that sparkling new facility.

    Good convo as always, everyone.

  10. Why would someone build a stadium for someone else to move in? I thought the whole sticking point was Mark had no shares to give, without losing a controlling interest in the team, and that’s what this group wanted.

    • @eb – AEG is trying to fill dates and get multiple Super Bowls at the stadium. Can’t happen without a NFL tenant. We don’t know what any incoming group’s ownership strategy might be.

  11. @duffer : Not true at all. Al Davis never wanted to leave LA and said so under oath. Don’t believe it? Google this: “I wanted to be here, in Los Angeles. I wanted the Raiders to be here.”

  12. in case people don’t know , Mark Davis spends most of his time in LA
    Amy Trask and Mckenzie are running the team in Oakland

  13. Wow Aeg could see the Raiders and bring back the old school fans and new school fans. Either way a new LA stadium will be successful.

    Seems to me the only way the Raiders stay is a combination of the team to start winning FAST and or a threat to move and the pressure the city to pay up. I would love if the A’s stay in Oakland, what u guys here think of the A’s to play by the coliseum north parking lot. We can make like an A’s ballpark/museum. What u guys think?? 🙂

  14. Coliseum location is a non-starter, as far as MLB is concerned.

  15. “in case people don’t know , Mark Davis spends most of his time in LA
    Amy Trask and Mckenzie are running the team in Oakland”
    So does Lew Wolff. BTW, Al has said his biggest regret was leaving Oakland in the first place and his wife, Mark’s mom, is pushing to keep the team here. I’ve also heard the NFL and the L.A. media don’t want the Raiders in L.A. We’ll see what happens.

  16. Thank u for the good news Eb.

    I forgot about mama Davis she does have some influence on her son and she loves Oakland and understands the city is and team are both rebuilding. I would propose Oakland around 2015-16 to seriously have a public funding plan to help Davis make this new stadium happen.

    Congrads to the A’s for making the playoffs. Let’s win the division. Plz Quan make somethin happen

  17. The Raiders will not leave the Bay Area again. They lost a whole generation of fans 1982-1994 that they just recently recovered….10 straight sellouts.

    Granted the Raiders did not have control of ticket sales until 2006 but since that time they have done quite well overall despite the Great Recession….Which hit the East Bay hard.

    To move to LA, they would give up all that traction, the NFL knows this and would force them to move in with the 49ers above all else.

    The Raiders would have no real argument to move….When I went to the Lions-Raiders game last year I ask all the Raiders fans Santa Clara or Oakland? They all booed SC…When I asked them LA or SC….They all were SC all day long with a fear in their voice.

    Raiders will never leave they Bay again….NFL needs expansion in LA….or the Rams/Chargers to go back….I predict expansion or bust…

  18. My understanding is when AEG took control of the Oakland Coliseum, the City of Oakland made AEG sign a contract that they could not talk to the Raiders about moving to LA till after the Raiders contract expires after the 2013-2014 season is over. So AEG can’t talk with the Raider after this season, but they can talk with the Chargers & Rams this March.

  19. Never say never Sid, except when it comes to publicly funding a stadium in Caliornia.

    BTW, I was at Saturday’s walk off against Seattle and my friends and I were just looking at each other saying that this was an embarrassment – only 20k for a team in the thick of the wildcard hunt. I go to as many games as possible, but coming down from Eureka, it’s tough to go to more than a hand full a year.

  20. @plrraz

    Agreed only 20,000 on a average level. if Oakland had a new ballpark in Howard Terminal or by the Coliseum… it would do wonders because it would be new and sit about 30-35k.. hopefully it will happen.

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