Absent a short or long-term lease at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Raiders made an unusual request of the Coliseum Authority (JPA): they want to build a new stadium on the site of the current Coliseum.
That’s a departure from the commonly held belief that the Raiders wanted a stadium next to the current one, in the Coliseum’s B Lot. Should the JPA take up the Raiders’ request, both the Raiders and A’s would be unable to play in the Coliseum as the old one was torn down and a new one built. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a problem for the Raiders, since they could become roommates with the 49ers in Santa Clara for a few years while all of the upheaval occurred. As for the A’s, they’d be out of a place to play.
Of all the different ways we all considered how this dance could play out, the Raiders wanting the Coliseum to themselves in this way did not climb to the top of the list. If you think about it for a minute, it makes sense. What the Raiders want is what many teams want at their stadium sites – full control of the complex. All parking revenues, all signage, all ancillary event money, all of it. And I don’t blame them. If they say they’re going to put up $300+ million for the stadium, they want to ensure that they’ll get that back. Pushing the A’s out of the complex is the best way to do it because there’s much less chance of the legal (and revenue-sharing) love triangle between the Raiders, A’s, and JPA that Mt. Davis wrought.
Lame duck JPA board Vice Chair Larry Reid knows what this means for the A’s and MLB.
Lew Wolff would be happy if that was the scenario that played out. He could tell Major League Baseball, ‘See, they didn’t want us. Look what they’re doing for the Raiders.’
Exactly. The JPA knows this and they don’t want to be caught throwing more good money after bad, in this case, a second Mt. Davis. We don’t know yet what commitments Oakland and Alameda County are willing to make, yet the Raiders are making demands. At least the Raiders have put some cards on the table. The City/County haven’t. And the A’s have no interest in playing.
Funny thing is that there’s still doubt about what revenue the Raiders could generate to back a new stadium that could cost upwards of $800 million to build. Yet they don’t have to prove anything at the moment. This is about getting the JPA to commit to one team over the other. This won’t make the A’s respond with a different stance in the least. They sent a lease offer to the JPA that accounted for this. And that puts the JPA in a very, very tough position.
The Raiders have options and they’re playing this like they’re ready to exercise any of them. They could go to Santa Clara. Mark Davis is in talks with LA, despite how unlikely that move sounds. They’re giving the appearance of a team that wants, but does not need, Oakland. I told all of you about a reckoning earlier in the summer. It’s starting.
Update 9:15 PM – In an ESPN interview today, Mark Davis laid out more specifically what he wants. Most interesting is the news that he confirmed the 58,000-seat capacity stadium concept.
I’ve come to the conclusion that a 53,000-seat stadium, that we played in from the 60’s and all that, is basically what our market is. We’re not an 80,000-seat stadium, we’re not a 65,000-seat stadium, really, unless you’re winning every game and all that stuff. But those aren’t the hardcore fans that are there … for us the 53,000–seat stadium is good and maybe 5,000 club seats bring it up to 58,000 seats.
Like I said, Davis is laying down his cards.