Pay Up Or GTFO

We’ve talked a lot in the past year about how the Maloof family is broke and can’t do anything on their own, whether it’s funding their piece of a downtown arena or sell anymore pieces of the Kings without losing control of the franchise. Travel west along I-80, and you can see that Oakland and the Raiders are in the same situation. Oakland has had to rob Peter to pay Paul for the Raiders study, and the prospects for the Coliseum are bleak without some extremely creative (and probably public) financing. Al Davis had his estate structured so that his son Mark could keep control of the Raiders, but the Raiders can’t sell additional shares of the club without giving up control. Overextended as they all are, they’re still under the gun to come up with a future stadium solution that works for both parties, while not adding significantly to either party’s debt load.

That puts the Oakland/Alameda County and the Raiders in very tense dance over how much each side will pay to create an anchor for Coliseum City. Make no mistake, both sides will have to pay something, starting at $100 million depending on how extensive the project will be. If there’s a new stadium, especially one with a retractable roof, up to $200 million could be provided by the NFL. If it’s a redone Coliseum, the NFL will offer significantly less. It’s all based on the scale of the project.

For example, take the deal struck between the Carolina Panthers and the City of Charlotte. They’re partnering on a $302.5 million package of improvements for 17-year-old Bank of America Stadium. The breakdown looks like this:

  • $96.25 million from Panthers (33%)
  • $143.75 million from City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County via a 1% food and beverage tax hike (47%)
  • $62.5 million from North Carolina (20%, pending state approval)

The actual improvements will cost $250 million, the rest will cover the establishment of a maintenance fund, costs associated with staging City/County events, and other gameday expenses such as traffic control. The stadium, which was privately built by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, will not get any major structural changes such as the addition or elimination of seating decks. Accessibility will be improved by the addition of escalators. Video boards will be replaced. Obviously those items won’t cost $250 million by themselves, so there will be other buildouts elsewhere in the stadium. Perhaps they’ll expand concourses, build field suites, or create additional premium spaces inside the stadium. BofA Stadium still ranks as excellent in terms of design, sightlines, and amenities, so the new improvements may be what Richardson wants to make the venue a viable future Super Bowl candidate. The Panthers would be guaranteed to stay and additional 15 years if the deal is approved and improvements completed.

Sidebar: It was the enormous success of the Panthers’ initial PSL plan that helped sell the 1995 Coliseum renovation plans to Oakland/Alameda County and Al Davis. The Panthers paid for their entire stadium with PSLs and other private sources, with the City only providing a cheap land lease. Where the East Bay went wrong was in severely overestimating demand.

Earlier this morning, Andy Dolich spoke with the Rise Guys about the Raiders’ tarp news and the prospects of Coliseum City. While he continues to believe that the best place for the A’s and Raiders is the Coliseum, his vision has shifted a bit. In 2010 he talked about a new multipurpose stadium with “technology” that could accommodate both teams. Now he prefers a separate ballpark at the complex and a refurbished Coliseum, which he estimated to cost $300-400 million. My immediate response:

Considering what’s budgeted for the Panthers and the Bills, does anyone think a $300-400 million budget as realistic for what the Raiders and the NFL would want? Frankly, I think that by the time everything got going, $500 million may be undershooting it by quite a bit. Dolich also thinks the Diridon ballpark cost could rise to $600-700 million based on additional costs to get the site ready. I tend to disagree with that, though if this saga keeps dragging on $600 million is an easy reach. Even if the land is free, why would two-thirds of a larger football stadium cost half as much as a nearly half-capacity ballpark?

Also, consider that we explored a Coliseum refurb on this blog back in 2008. It would’ve involved gutting the original bowl and replacing it with a new West stand and a single deck of seats along each end zone.


Colors denote different seating decks or phases of development

The project as described back then would’ve taken two full NFL seasons and about 18 months to complete, with the Raiders playing in a 47,000-seat temporary configuration while construction work progressed, similar to their 1995 season at the Coliseum. Complicating matters is that Lew Wolff wants an out clause in his five-year lease extension request if the Raiders begin this very type of project. That makes sense, since there’s no way the stadium could host baseball during this period.

Let’s say that a refurb could be capped at $500 million. The breakdown of costs by party could look like this:

  • $200 million from Oakland/Alameda County (Coliseum Authority)
  • $200 million from Raiders
  • $100 million from NFL

The Coliseum Authority could get their piece from land leases, new stadium taxes, or other sources. However, they have factor in the remaining $100 million of debt on Mt. Davis since it affects City and County budgets every year ($20 million annual subsidy). The Raiders and the NFL could work together to sell new PSLs, naming rights, etc.

The NFL has two, maybe three $200 million slots in its G-4 program for new stadia, one already claimed by 49ers. Another could be the Vikings or Falcons. In theirs and the Raiders’ cases, the teams have to at least match the NFL spend, which means that they have to come up with $200 million of their own. The 49ers came up with closer to $800 million, though much of that is money borrowed through the quasi-governmental Santa Clara Stadium Authority. Chances are that the Coliseum City stadium project would borrow through the Coliseum Authority.

Oakland pols will want as much private funds going into the project as possible, but the Raiders will be wary of digging themselves too deep a hole. That stands to reason because of poor suite and club seat sales over the years, along with mediocre season ticket rolls. There’s been a lot of talk about Oakland not requiring a vote, none about how much it’s willing to invest besides land and infrastructure improvements. Unfortunately for Oakland, land and infrastructure only gets you in the door these days. How much skin will each side put into the game? The answer won’t be known without a (hopefully public) discussion about what it’ll take to make Coliseum City happen.

44 thoughts on “Pay Up Or GTFO

  1. The hell with Dolich! Trying to hate on San Jose when Oakland can’t do @&$? Squat for the A’s! Mentioning a new A’s ballpark and the Coliseum site can now be deemed as @&$? ludicrous. Diridon (or NSP) will work out just fine for the A’s and Wolff. Now, back to the Raiders.
    I think a completely rebuilt Coliseum around the existing Mt. Davis makes to much sense at this point (your fine post from 08 RM). I’d even go for a naming rights partner to perhaps get another $100 million for the new Coliseum (Clorox, Chevron, where are you?). Now you’re talking perhaps $600 million for the venture. Please! No retractable roof!
    I’d also take a page out of the White Sox US Cellular redo and take some top rows off of Mt. Davis. Replacement seating could be added to the north end with a second deck. For style, add a roof ala the Quakes SSS over current Mt. Davis and new west side addition.

  2. Is there any reason to think that the Raiders/NFL would even consider a renovated Coliseum as a desirable plan? While I personally believe that a refurbished football-only Coliseum is the way to go (seeing as it would be idiotic to knock down Mt. Davis when its still perfectly suitable, not to mention that there’s still all that debt on it…), it seems like both the team and the league are more interested in a brand-new stadium if they can get it. After all, in this day and age, why settle for a repaired, re-purposed hand-me-down when you can have your wide eyes set on the next shiny, brand-spanking-new digs?

    To think all those prospective dates in that ’08 post have come and gone and not a single thing has changed… sigh.

  3. Possibly $600 million for a SJ park, plus the amount needed to pay off the Giants seems like a whole lot, no? Hypothetically, Wolff and Co. would put around 700 million towards a park?

  4. @eb,
    Dolich is speaking out of the wrong end of his body re the final price of a San Jose ballpark. The man has no credence on the A’s/San Jose issue, so don’t give him any!

  5. eb: Is that what you hope it would cost to build in San Jose or do you have some actual figures?

  6. @eb – That would give anyone pause. As long as the franchise value keeps rising (probably at $600 million now) and the CBA continues to allow owners to write off the cost of ballparks, Wolff/Fisher are in good shape.

    @JL – I don’t think it can be characterized as the NFL always wanting a new stadium. The G-4 fund will run out just as the G-3 fund did, and I don’t think the NFL will throw its money at anything and everything. It has to pay off for everyone including the NFL. Sometimes the new option is too expensive for all involved. No one’s talking about a new stadium in Buffalo. Remember that all this time Roger Goodell has been suggesting to the Raiders that they move in with the 49ers.

  7. I know Dolich has an agenda, but he was so adamant that the Niners would never get a stadium. I find it amazing that politicians, talking heads, interest groups don’t really care the warriors want to leave. If anyone has a decent venue it is them. People should be more upset just for that reason. No matter how many scenarios I think about, there is not one I see in the next 5 years where the city of oakland will have rebounded financially as to be able to ask voters for money for a stadium. The coliseum is dying at a rapid pace, with a huge dept payment. I just hope the next mayor of San Jose will have the same desire for the A’s as Chuck. One way or another the A’s will be playing at the coliseum for a long time and the raiders on dirt every October. So depressing that I am relying on Bud to make a decision

  8. RM,
    Do the Raiders have $200 million? Or the Coliseum Authority for that matter (?). If true, perhaps a refurbished, “new” Raiders stadium could in theory happen. (wishful thinking from this Raiders fan?)

  9. @ Jordan,
    I’m confident Sam Liccardo will usher in Cisco Field and the new San Jose Athletics 😉

  10. @ML – Good point. I guess the league doesn’t care too much so long as it makes financial sense, but so far as the Raiders are concerned, it seems like most of the dialogue coming from them has been centered on a NEW stadium. We haven’t heard anyone from the Raiders nor the city of Oakland mention anything about a renovated/rebuilt Coliseum, and all the study renderings/documents depict and point towards an entirely new facility.

    Granted, Oakland is still pushing hard for Coliseum City, and with the A’s still stuck purgatory, perhaps a renovated Coliseum isn’t exactly Plan A. But lets say the A’s are no longer a factor and Oakland wises up and drops the Coliseum City idea in favor of a refurbished Coliseum. Will the Raiders bite? Or will they play hardball? Barring an intervention from the league or an act of God, will the shimmering bright lights of a new stadium (perhaps in LA, or even Santa Clara) be too much to resist?

  11. It’s becoming more obvious now that the Raiders are the most likely of any of Oakland’s current teams with any possible long-term future at the Coliseum site. With that said, any chances of Oakland coming up in the near-term with a mutually suitable funding plan for a new or renovated stadium are almost nil. However, if the Raiders do sign a short-term lease at the new Santa Clara stadium for say five to ten years, then by that time Oakland’s financial and corporate economic situation may be improved enough to accomplish a new Coliseum deal. Also, by that time both the A’s and Warriors will have likely vacated the site, as well. A vacated Coliseum could also be just the added leverage needed to help push Oakland to get a stadium deal done for the Raiders.

  12. @Tony D – That’s not the question to ask. Do they have $200 million, probably not. They can get it by getting a loan or by some other fundraising method. The issue is whether the risk outweighs the benefit.

    The Raiders have six possible outcomes from here, the first five in order of ascending cost.

    1. Stay in Coliseum as is and continue without any new major investment.
    2. Move to Santa Clara on a temp-to-perm basis.
    3. Partner with JPA on a renovated Coliseum.
    4. Partner with JPA on a new outdoor stadium, demolish Coliseum.
    5. Partner with JPA on a new retractable dome, demolish Coliseum.

    -and 6. Move to LA (cost difficult to determine)

    That’s a lot of options. The Raiders have some tough decisions ahead of them which will chart the franchise’s course for the next 20 years.

  13. I’ll take a new stadium anyday, sorry Oakland but with other cities like Buffalo, Charlotte, and Kansas City ponying up money to keep its teams it makes it harder on Oakland NOT to public fund their portion…they can’t will not get away without public funding…

  14. I like option 3 & 4 from ML’s list… again im goign to love 2013 necause finally Oakland city leaders cannot stall any longer.. its either pulblic funding to get Coliseum City off the ground or Oakland was wasting the A’s and Raiders time the whole time.. no wonder the Warriors didnt even what any part of Coliseum City… sigh.

  15. i think renovating the current coliseum is probaly the most likely and realistic scenario if the raiders remain in oakland. demolish the orignial coliseum structure and build a brand new part of the venue to go along with a renovated mt davis where i agree the top seats of on mt davis needs to be changed somehow. as mentioned with the first response in this post, do what the chisox did with us cellular when they completely renovated the top deck at their park with those seats being so high up and i think in terms of the luxury boxes in mt davis they should turn every two boxes into one bigger suite thru out the structure.

    could the raiders really play at the coliseum during recontruction? even if they destory the original bowl right after the football sesaon, no way could they build enough of the seats up in the new part of the stadium for them to come back the very next sep? i would think maybe the raiders could spend one year at the new niners stadium as 18-20 months could be enough time from destruction of the old part of the coliseum to the new part being built

  16. re: they can’t will not get away without public funding…

    …I agree. Oakland is not going to get away with merely providing the Coliseum parking lot. The NFL is going to want some money toward construction and I’m not seeing how Oakland can provide any.

  17. San jose lol……please……A’s right at Jack London…Estuary Park!….but Lew Wolff 1998 comments show he never wanted Oakland to work. And W’s will not be in SF lol. End of the day W’s will be at coliseum city along with the Raiders…..our A’s will be at a waterfront ballpark at JLS. MLB definitely would prefer a waterfront venue in Oakland than a joke stadium in downtown Man Jose.

  18. @ML The addition of a roof on a new stadium doesn’t help the Raiders, in fact it would probably hurt them relative to a new open-air stadium. If the JPA pushes for the roof, I wouldn’t expect the Raiders to help foot that additional cost. So while the cost for a domed stadium is certainly more than an open-air one, I would think the Raiders contribution to those projects would be about the same.

  19. @gojohn10 – Exactly. The Raiders and the NFL don’t care about the stadium being used as a convention center, or an LA Live! type of development. At the same time, Oakland/Alameda County will have a hard time convincing the public that another $200+ million investment just for a football stadium makes sense economically and politically. Can the two sides find a middle ground?

    @510 Savage – Try to stay on topic here.

  20. All this with the lease negotiations for both teams presumely going on.I was going to say that a decision by the Raiders and the other parties will have to be made soon,but then again option 1 would allow for both teams to remain as is for a few more years with new leases.With all this on the table for the Raiders,the Stadium Authority will have to give Wolff an out clause.I don’t think 4 and 5 will happen, but a renovation will kick the A’s out. What a mess! At this point, Wolff has a right to be angry with Oakland.Hopefully the A’s are thinking about back up plans.Candlestick is officially off the table.

  21. @ML

    You are prob right about this whole Raider stadium issue. According to Forbes in 2012 the Raiders net worth was 785 million and net debt value was approx 16% of their total worth at the time. Plus they somehow managed to have $15 million dollar loss in operating income. Only other team that had a net loss was the Lions. I did not think that was possible in today’s NFL.

  22. “Hopefully the A’s are thinking about back up plans.Candlestick is officially off the table”

    Regardless of any plans to renovate the Coliseum for the Raiders, the A’s could be playing at AT&T Park as temporary tenants of the Giants. This could be done as part of a compensation package to the Giants for giving up their territorial claims to Santa Clara County.

  23. Please don’t feed the 510 troll and its nonsense; thank you.
    I’m liking the ideas for the current Mt Davis: combine/renovate suites for larger/party suites. New west side structure could have smaller, conventional suites.

  24. Did anyone ever take a Candlestick option seriously?

    @Mike2 – 16% debt is a good position. 20-25% is fairly common. It’s advantageous to have some debt on hand for depreciation. I figure that fairly low debt position came about because the Davis family sold minority shares a few years ago. As for cash and the operating income problem, that’s all Raiders. They decided against a better revenue sharing agreement with the JPA in order to get an early out on the lease. Plus the team’s payroll as it the cap limit. They didn’t have to do these things.

  25. @ML

    does not hurt to ask if Alameda County for funding…In fact I’m surprised they havent gotten over with it yet. It’s simple…vote yes or no on the new stadium deal. We all have a voice in this right??? so whatever happens happens, if it Yes then let’s get building…if it is NO. Then it is up to the teams to leave or stay.

    O and its not for the Raiders its for A’s and Warriors too…

  26. eb, I highly doubt the cost of an SJ ballpark has jumped from 400 million to 600 million in a year.

  27. One more thing ML

    Have Mark Davis and Lew Wolff talked before? I think of they work together, both guys can get want they want over Oakland. I thinly of MLB and NFL can work.something out it will force Oakland hand. Do u see a partnership coming???

  28. Just thought I’d throw this out there since it’s somewhat relevant. The last time the Raiders started tarping off sections of their stadium was down in LA when they did the same thing (reducing capacity) to the LA Coliseum in advance of their move back to Oakland. And at the time the capacity of the LA Coliseum was still reduced down to 30,000+ more seats than the Raiders will have next year in Oakland.

    Frankly I don’t see how this reduction (which all but admits they’re not working out in Oakland) along with the Raiders still not signing any kind of long term lease on the Coliseum, and the fact neither the team nor city can afford any kind of new stadium, can be seen as anything but bad news for the Raiders and their Oakland based fans futures beyond next season.

  29. ML, seems to me the only thing holding up a Raiders move back to LA, is the fact the Raiders don’t want to be the first team to do so. The first team is going to have to give up a fairly substantial ownership stake to either AEG or Roski to make their entrance to the market. The Raiders ownership scheme precludes that from happening if Mark Davis wants to remain in control. So it’ll have to be the Rams or Chargers who get there first. But once one of them has committed there’s little stopping the Raiders from moving in as team 2. Less capital outlay for them, no loss of ownership control, no loss of another ownership segment, and a temporary venue just waiting to be used in the LA Coliseum.

  30. @ Dan,
    Interesting point of view. I just want our team in a new venue by 2017. Prefer Oakland (new or refurbished coliseum), but will honestly take Santa Clara, Dublin or even back to LA for new and improved digs.

  31. And to my point earlier…Oakland plan B if all the teams decide to leave after 2013…trust me. They are quickly selling to highest bidder…the fans will demand that heads will role which will lead to the end of the Mayor Quan era…going to be a lot of changes in Oakland sports and government, IF these things go down.

  32. I just see half empty condos where the demolished Coliseum stands in the future. Nothing wrong with it, but will go down in history as a city that miss managed 3 pro teams…. Again mark Davis and lew Wolff should team up vs Oakland jpa

  33. Re: the LA tarps,they reduced the Coliseum capacity from 92 to 65k, so more than the Oakland capacity next year, but only 14k more.

  34. Well ML maybe the two can work and tall things out..that’s the problem with ppl. Both wa.t new stadiums…I think they could have a good convoy. But u know lew better than I do…..

  35. @Mike 2

    Ever been to Detroit, Buffalo or St.Louis???, They play near the “hood”…. I mean Oakland is similar to those cities, but they have new or renovated stadiums without a problem

  36. Berry, they built those cities when the economy was significantly better. Either could do it today.

  37. @berry – True, but an important difference between them and Oakland is that those places are major cities in their own right and the centers of their respective metropolitan areas, so of course they would be able to attract major events. Oakland, on the other hand, has to compete with San Francisco just across the Bay and San Jose to the south for events. I am a proud Oaklander myself, but even I have to admit that Mike2 has a point – whether its deserved or not, Oakland’s reputation makes it difficult for the city to get major events, especially when there’s more attractive options in close proximity.

    In any case, comparing Oakland to other cities still does not address the fact that economic clout and political leadership is needed to get any stadium deal done. Detroit, Buffalo, and St. Louis apparently did, hence their successes despite their unfavorable circumstances. Does Oakland? It remains to be seen, but so far it doesn’t look like it…

  38. @Berry

    Yes I have been to either a football,baseball, or hockey gamesin all 3 cities that you have mentioned. Ralph Wilson (Buffalo)stadium is in the suburbs and there is plenty of parking close by the stadium where you can park your car for $25.00 and feel safe walking to the stadium on game day. Coamerica park I don’t have a problem going to. (I just make sure I keep my taser in my car when I do go to Detroit)It’s a great example on how to build a downtown park and use the surrounding buildings to enhance the outside of the stadium. I have gone to Busch stadium a couple of times over the past 3 years, and I have to say “I can’t see East St Louis from my stadium seats”.
    JL, ML, and many others have pointed out that Oakland lacks the resources, the political unity, and the will to keep it’s sports teams. Start buying your sports memorabilia boys and girls the hand writing is on the wall.

  39. Thank u Mike 2,

    I love Detroit…..well there music… Been to hitsville and Ford field, Lions vs Bears game… Hella fun, first outta state football game…
    Yeah Oakland done.unless somehow a deal is reached that we get a new or renovated stsdium

  40. JL writes….””True, but an important difference between them and Oakland is that those places are major cities in their own right and the centers of their respective metropolitan areas””

    Exactly. Both San Jose and Oakland live in the shadow of internationally famous San Francisco. It places those cities in a different category than other cities that are smaller in population but are the metro center for a large footprint of area. If Oakland was a stand alone metro area (not part of a larger metro area), keeping their pro sports teams would be much much easier road to travel. But it is what it is, Oakland does live in the shadow of SF. Yet that in itself is not a deal breaker (due to the sizable population of the bay area as well as the amount of wealth here). It is why Oakland, even being in the shadow of SF, is a multi pro franchise city. But the dynamics have changed in the past decade or more. The cold, hard reality (speaking strictly in terms of economics) is Oakland now lives in the shadow of 2 cities (again, speaking only in terms of economics). Soon, likely, San Jose/South Bay (maybe not in name but in geography) will be a 3 pro team market (it may even be a 4 team market)….while Oakland will be without a pro franchise at all.
    And as I’ve said before, it sucks for Oakland sports fans. Sports fandom is all about passion for the team and even the city it occupies. To see that leave with little you can really do about it….that just plain sucks. But the economic realities of being third in line behind very famous SF and corporate wealthy silicon valley just simply do not favor Oakland at this point in history.
    Lastly, as I’ve also said multiple times before, Oakland should focus on what they can do with their limited $$$ resources versus what was always political foolishness. I think that reality might finally be setting in and they are focusing on the Raiders. I hope for Oakland’s sake JQ and the rest of her mopes see this and decide to get serious on something they actually can make happen.

  41. I know I come across as anti-Oakland at times but I do hope the A’s and Raiders somehow stay in Oakland. I have pretty much been to most stadiums across the east coast and mid-west and I can tell you from experience there is no place I rather watch a baseball or football game than at the Coliseum. Even when the stadium is half full it is still one of the loudest and most fan friendly venues that I have seen. 15K at the is louder than 90K at Cowboy Stadium. I would rank A’s and Raiders fans as one of the best and most passionate sports fans in the nation. Only time will tell if the city can keep it’s teams. There needs to be some sort of closure soon for the city and all of us fans.

  42. Miami and Charlotte both dropped some public funding on their respective NFL teams….Sun life and BofA are getting major upgrades….doesnt look good of JQ keeps dancing around theory portion to any new stadium in Oakland….kinda gives me a lilttle hope that Oakland will have to step their game to get the stadium I want.

  43. Oakland doesn’t have $200 million to spend on a new NFL stadium, but even if they did, it’s hard to imagine a more stupid use of that money. Just because other cities allow themselves to be blackmailed into giving out giant subsidies to rich owners doesn’t mean Oakland should follow suit.

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