The Raiders and the NFL announced yesterday that the team will one of three franchises to host “home” games next season in London’s Wembley Stadium. Jacksonville, which has done this before, and Atlanta will also be “home” teams. It’s an expansion of the NFL’s exposure in Europe. Previous seasons often had only one London fixture, this season has two. Both of this season’s games are sellouts, which likely convinced NFL brass to expand the program.
CSNBA’s Scott Bair notes that the Radiers’ current lease, which ends this season, has a requirement that the Raiders play all home games at the Coliseum. A lease extension would have to be amended to reflect the new arrangement. Of course, the Raiders and the Coliseum Authority first have to agree to basic terms of a new lease, and there are no indicators that the two sides are close to completion of that yet. Owner Mark Davis has made it clear that he wants to tie a lease to a long-term deal that produces a new stadium for his franchise.
Enter today’s Matier & Ross item, which described the NFL as not impressed in Oakland and the JPA’s efforts regarding Coliseum City.
‘The NFL came in a couple of months back to see how the city and county were coming along with their plans and basically rolled their eyes,’ said a source close to the Davis camp, who asked not to be named because of ongoing negotiations in Oakland over a possible replacement for the Coliseum.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Davis has chided the JPA about an apparent lack of urgency on their part. Last week’s news that big-pocketed investors including Colony Capital helps their cause. The structure of the deal that pushes out the JPA’s study another 12-18 months doesn’t. That’s probably why the NFL isn’t impressed. They can see right through the public officials’ moves, which are mostly stalling tactics until something drops into their lap. The NFL has not shown patience with that in the past. They want results. Plus they’re fine with Davis talking to anyone who will listen, whether that’s in LA, Concord, wherever.
Moreover, Matier & Ross bring up the idea that if Colony is asked to help subsidize the stadium, they’ll want something out of it. Maybe that means a piece of a team or even a controlling share. That’s not likely to happen on Davis’s watch, as he’s been buying out smaller ownership stakes to further strengthen his hold over the franchise. Perhaps that’s for the purposes of flipping a small minority stake in exchange for a stadium, but no more than that. As we’ve seen with the NFL’s discussions with AEG over Farmers Field, no owner nor the league has any interest in swapping a major ownership stake for stadium rights. I wrote previously that Colony will want to pay as little as possible for a stadium since it’s money pit. This is the opposite of such an arrangement. Whatever the case, Colony didn’t grow to its current size and status by giving things away. The JPA can keep studying the issue until the cows come home. The NFL will remain unimpressed.