Less than two weeks ago, Amy Trask came on The Game’s morning show to talk about the Raiders’ ticket donation program. While there she talked up the Coliseum as the best location for a future stadium and defended Raider Nation to the hilt – as she has done frequently. So it came with some surprise that Trask resigned her CEO post over the weekend. She went out honoring the team and its fans. She could easily write a book on her 25-year tenure as a rare female executive in pro sports. Chances are that she’ll write a paean about her experiences with the Raiders instead.
Under the surface it seemed Trask’s days were numbered. With Reggie McKenzie handling the football side and Dennis Allen as his coach, Trask was marginalized to the role of figuring out the Raiders’ future stadium situation. Even then, the team got little momentum on that front as its lease was renegotiated and running towards its end. According to Tim Kawakami, at first Trask pushed for a stadium-sharing model with the 49ers, a move that would’ve been highly practical. As the 49ers pushed forward in Santa Clara, any murmurs about sharing died, replaced by a renewed push for something new in the East Bay. Mark Davis made calls to folks in the Tri-Valley about Camp Parks while Trask emphasized that the Coliseum was the best spot. Davis is working in conjunction with the NFL on the Raiders’ spot within Coliseum City, a less showy vision than what Oakland pols are promoting.
Now that Trask is gone, it’ll be up to Davis and a hired gun to sell the prospects of a new stadium at the Coliseum. Rumors abounded during the offseason that a new team president would be hired. There was even talk that Davis would give the reins to Jon Gruden, which went nowhere. It would seem that Andy Dolich would be a natural fit since he performed that kind of role for the 49ers and he’s perhaps Oakland’s biggest booster outside of the city limits. Yet Dolich took a job with recruiting firm Odgers Berndtson instead. Perhaps Davis wants to go with someone younger or someone not previously associated with the 49ers. Whatever the reasoning, it’s a puzzling non-move.
Successful stadium/arena campaigns are usually the product of a solid public-private partnership. The Giants had Larry Baer, Peter Magowan, and Willie Brown pushing for a ballpark. The 49ers had Jed York go door-to-door and two mayors, Patricia Mahan and Jamie Matthews. The Earthquakes had Lew and Keith Wolff, David Kaval, and Chuck Reed keeping San Jose’s bureaucracy from getting in the way. Miraculously, Kevin Johnson had no help from a team owner, but KJ had a history and reputation as a great NBA player to help himself within the NBA. Let’s assume for the moment that Jean Quan, Larry Reid, and Rebecca Kaplan can capably lead the public side. Mark Davis isn’t going to do the heavy public campaign himself, will he? It’ll be up to the new President/CEO/COO or whatever the proper title is to pound the pavement, rally the sponsors, gather the votes. Without that effort there’s little chance Coliseum City will get the necessary support behind it to be successful.
Just a theory — perhaps this a precursor to a sale.
As I’ve stated in the recent past, the most logical solution for the Raiders is for them to move to Santa Clara as short-term tenants of the 49ers. This will allow the time necessary to get all the applicable parties to agree on all issues, Stadium funding among others, required for a possible return of the Raiders to a new stadium at the Coliseum site. This also gives the Raiders the Options to either remain in Santa Clara on a permanent basis, or to move away from the Bay Area altogether.
If it is true that the 49ers are no longer interested in having the Raiders as tenants in a shared football stadium, then it looks more likely that the Davis family will be looking to sell the team. If that does happen, then I can see the Raiders likely moving back to Los Angeles.
I do believe the Raiders are interested in selling minority shares/non-controlling interest in the team. Don’t believe we’ll see an outright sale of the team, but you never know.
I to believe the Niners stadium remains a viable option as a temporary facility (short term lease) while the team continues to explore options in the East Bay. Permanent status in Santa Clara now appears very unlikely. Yes, if nothing happens in Oakland/East Bay, Raiders most likely headed back to SoCal.
Not that it matters, but isn’t there an MLB owners meeting this week?
Re Amy Trask: found it interesting (?) that the Raiders took out a full page in today’s Mercury News, thanking her for her service to the team and wishing her the best. Complete with photo of Trask.
@Tony D – There is a meeting and the A’s are not on the agenda.