Kawakami interviews Mark Davis about Coliseum plans

Say what you will about Tim Kawakami, but he’s the only local columnist talking Raiders’ (and Warriors’) stadium issues. He got a little time in with Raiders owner Mark Davis, who didn’t crack. Davis did, however, reveal some of his motivations for moving the way he has.

Davis continues to not consider Santa Clara as an option after 2013. He said that the team is still only talking to the JPA (Coliseum Authority) about a lease extension, with no actual negotiation yet on a long-term deal – which he prefers. Asked why he prefers a long-term deal, he replied:

(A short-term extension) doesn’t seem to be something that I want to do. I don’t see where that does any good.

If you go back and look at when we did the three-year extension last time, and you look at the quotes from the politicians and the people around, they said, ‘Great, now we’ve got an opportunity to work on a long-term deal with the Raiders.’

If we do it again, then it’s, ‘Great, now we’ve got a long time to work on a long-term deal with the Raiders.’ I think we’ve got to get a little more urgency about it.

Pretty subtle dig at the JPA and Oakland/Alameda County pols there. It’s a good move for Davis strategically, since it will eventually force the JPA to make commitments to a timeline and some minimal level of funding if they really want to keep the Raiders in town. If they’re reticent to make a deal, Davis can turn to Roger Goodell and say, See, I tried. Davis certainly sounds sincere about his stance, though it would be crazy if he didn’t take calls from interested municipalities. He also revealed that he was able to buy out a minority partner, bringing the family’s share of the team to above 50%.

Kawakami brought up Cal’s Memorial Stadium as a temporary venue option. Davis didn’t discount the possibility, but his response showed that he hadn’t considered it much either:

Sure. I mean, if they’d want us. We’ve done it before. There’s some… things about Berkeley that wouldn’t be optimal–the parking and all of that stuff is always tough.

But at the same time, if it’s (there’s a need to play elsewhere for a while) for a new stadium… and we like Berkeley. I think what they’ve done with the new stadium is great.

The issue at Memorial Stadium is a legal one. Neighbors who fought the stadium renovation project hard got a settlement in 2010 that placed a cap on the number of high-capacity events at the stadium and prohibited NFL games as well.

Contrast the Davis’s and Wolff’s positions on lease extensions at the Coliseum. Davis wants a long-term deal that includes a replacement Coliseum with untold amounts of public and private money. Wolff prefers a five-year, short-term extension that allows him to build a privately-funded stadium in San Jose. Neither owner has lashed out at the other or the team, instead calling the shared-stadium situation something their respective teams have to suffer through.

At the moment it doesn’t look like the two teams’ extension will be wrapped up before the end of the baseball season, at the very least. That will only put more pressure on the JPA to make commitments. The timeline will also coincide with a building Oakland mayoral race, which has gone from having few challengers to incumbent Jean Quan to several. It’ll be interesting to see how the sports teams are treated and cited on the campaign trail. Sports may be the one of the highest profile things about the City, but it’s also one of the trickiest to manage.

14 thoughts on “Kawakami interviews Mark Davis about Coliseum plans

  1. Whoa! Did I just read the word “renovation” and statement “rebuilding of the coliseum”? Not building completely new now are we? As a Raiders fan, that would be nice, and SMART to!
    As an A’s fan RM, are you implying/suggesting an A’s lease extension will be finalized before seasons end? That would also be nice.
    BTW, Camden Yards is STILL beautiful. Someday, someday…

  2. @Tony D. Someday, my friend.

  3. @Tony D – Typo on my part. I don’t think the extension will happen before the end of the season.

    “Rebuild” is the same as “construct new”. I doubt that renovation is anything more than Option C or D on the list.

  4. re: -Q: Is LA on your mind as a possible permanent site?

    -DAVIS: Always. An opportunity for us to get a new stadium is always on my mind. Oakland is first, OK? That’s all I can say.

    …if the Raiders position is public money is going to be necessary and Oakland’s position is it doesn’t have any to offer, how does a new stadium get done in Oakland?

  5. Wow! So perhaps for the first time in MLB history, when the season ends…the A’s could be the first team to be truly HOMELESS! No lease at Coliseum and (as far as we know) no where else to play in 2014. Thanks for nothing Bud! Are you f***ken serious!?

  6. @Tony D.
    I’d kinda like to see what happens if the A’s don’t get a new lease with the Coliseum. What’s Bud gonna do?

  7. @Ezra Yeah, one would think the situation as is, would make MLB do somthing, but you make a good point, because it looks like MLB will not do a thing till they have no choice.

  8. “Yeah, one would think the situation as is, would make MLB do somthing, but you make a good point, because it looks like MLB will not do a thing till they have no choice”

    @Neil, That’s exactly what I see happening. Oakland’s willingness to accommodate the Raiders on either a new or renovated Coliseum, and at the expense of the A’s, will force MLB’s hand to finally end their charade and give approval for the A’s to move to San Jose. Also, as part of the compensation package to the Giants for giving up their so called “territorial rights” to the South Bay, the A’s will move in to AT&T Park as tenants of the Giants until the new Cisco Field is completed.

  9. Oakland hasn’t offered the Raiders anything more than it’s offered the A’s (not including the expensive 1995 ruination of the Coliseum). Oakland has offered the A’s and Raiders the “opportunity” to pay for their own stadiums at the current Coliseum site. The A’s aren’t interested at all and the Raiders expect the city to chip in, which, so far, the city has not offered to do. Now if the city starts offering the Raiders several hundred million dollars to help build a football stadium and continues to offer no money to the A’s, that’s a big change in circumstances…

  10. Other than AT & T Park which has a capacity of 41,915 and of course, O.Co Coliseum, the largest ballpark within an hour or so driving distance is Raley Field in West Sacramento which can currently hold 14,014 for baseball. Stanford’s Klein Field can seat 4,000 and Cal’s Evans Diamond will hold 2,500. Please correct me if I overlooked a venue.

  11. Good story, ML (TK is a super giants homer and is an a-hole for that reason, however TK did do a good job with the Mark Davis interview)

  12. Last year, Oakland had some sort of summit meeting with the NFL. Afterward, we saw nothing about any new stadium agreement or any plan on behalf of Oakland to contribute to a new Raiders stadium. Instead, we saw an “Oakland loves its sports teams” pep rally, replete with cardboard Raiders and A’s signs. You can draw your own conclusions about what is going on here.

  13. Enough of this renovating the coliseum BS, tear that dump down and build a brand new state of the art stadium, that will hol at least 65.000 the Raiders are one of the most storied franchises in The NFL, and I am tired of seeing them playing in a broken down s&&thole, as well as playing on a field that has a dirt infield. If it can’t get done move em to La La Land. I would hate to see them leave Oakland, but this is getting beyond ridiculous.

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