The $978 million, 50,000-seat NFL stadium

Yesterday the second of two public outreach meetings for Coliseum City was held at Oakland City Hall. I was flying in during the afternoon, so I wasn’t able to make it. Thankfully, @greenkozi (the macinator) put together a Storify compilation of tweets related to the meeting. It should give you a good sense of what was being discussed during the meeting.

Unable to attend, I’ve focused over the last few days on the just-released Coliseum City Football Stadium Revenue Study. The 177-page document covers a variety of funding scenarios for the Raiders stadium, including public and private options. Some of the key takeaways:

  • The full development could generate $22-26 million of annual tax revenue for the project, including ticket, sales, property, and hotel taxes.
  • That tax revenue would support $120-140 million of public debt for the project.
  • Ancillary development, even with three teams remaining at the Coliseum, looks rather modest.

Ancillary buildout potential at Coliseum City

  • Economic impact for the both the stadium and ancillary development is estimated at $2.8 billion.
  • Operating income (private) for the development is estimated at $49 million per year, which would support $300 million in debt. Combined with the public portion, a total of $420 million of debt could be supported. That would leave a nearly $700 million funding gap.
  • The stadium would have a capacity of 50,000, including 75 suites, 4,700 club seats, 200 loge seats, and would cost $978 million to construct.

AECOM’s previous study from last summer had the stadium also at 50,000 including premium seats, a number that was debated. This confirms the number, though the stadium cost has jumped from $700 million to $978 million (and rising) in a matter of months.

A 50,000-seat stadium is a rather alarming figure. People should be asking why the team and market can’t support a larger stadium. 50,000 seats won’t bring in a Super Bowl, and any new stadium has already lost the prestige battle with Levi’s Stadium, which will have a Super Bowl, bowl game, Wrestlemania, and a number of other events. While this study has looked into a number of new development scenarios involving 1-3 new venues, there is no discussion of incorporating any part of the existing Coliseum, nor is there any mention of the existing Coliseum debt. The most cost-efficient route for the Raiders for a “new” venue would be to rebuild the old bowl of the Coliseum and refurbish Mt. Davis, while lopping off the upper deck. That could be done for less than half the cost being considered, while providing an opportunity for ancillary development with an A’s stadium or something else.

A renovated Coliseum could be done in phases in a much more economical manner than a $1 billion new stadium

Maybe the NFL and the Raiders have considered this idea a nonstarter, so the JPA and BayIG aren’t going there. The aesthetics of the Coliseum aren’t great for transit-oriented development. But considering the growing funding gaps and the enormous obstacles to getting just the stadium built, it’s crazy that a renovated Coliseum isn’t under consideration. All they’d have to do is build roughly half a new stadium. There’s no situation where that’s more expensive than, oh, a whole new stadium. Seriously, am I missing something here?

39 thoughts on “The $978 million, 50,000-seat NFL stadium

  1. how could they renovate mt davis? probably combine two suites into one, not like all of them have been sold out since they returned. somehow update the east side club as it has the feeling and it’s been said many times before the feeling of a bad airport terminal.

    could they in some way lower the seats in the upper deck? seats are way too high/steep. i know the chw did the same thing when they renovated us celliular about a decade ago as those seats were pretty steep too. how much would a “new” venue cost if they are incorporating half of the mt davis part of the coliseum. who knows maybe with the money they would save they could build a stupid retractable roof over it as was part of the many plans for a raiders stadium at coliseum city.

    mentioned it before but amazing how rebuilding stanford stadium cost 90-100 million and it took less than 11 months to contruct and it’s capacity is 50k which is what the coliseum city stadium would be and it’ll cost 9 or even 10 times less than this venue for the raiders if it were ever to get built? i know it was mentioned stanford stadium was built on the “cheap” with it not having the wide open spaces for the fans you’d hope for an nfl venue and it doesn’t have the suites that an nfl owner would want but had stanford stadium’s design team could’ve given 300-400 million, which is still than half of what the plans are for this raiders stadium, instead of the 100 million or so that it had could they have added enough of the bells and whistles for it to have been a viable venue for an nfl team.

  2. Listen im all for public and private funeing for sports venues but even i know that …Well if Raiders want to generate support for a new stadium. starts now with Matt Schaub and those guys to win the afc west. ..i have always felt the Coliseum is best for Raiders. .rebuild half the stadium and clean up mount davis… add a large screen tv…WiFi access, maybe even figure out a way u can put a temp covering over the stadium for inside events…the Coliseum can be saved of done right…this is the best Davis can do unless he really does have L.A in his back pocket

  3. P.s im sure Mark Davis would consider a rebuilt half coliseum…only if the A’s are gone…since Oakland owes the mount davis debt and Warriors moving to S.F….its best to stop fighting with the A’s and let them move to San Jose….but maybe at meantime…who knows Lew could build a temp ballpark in Oakland. .

  4. It’s time to start looking at what sharing Levi’s stadium looks like. What would the Raiders pay in rent, how expensive/laborious is the weekly transfer of signage from Niners to Raiders and back, what percentage of the gate receipts do the Raiders keep for home game games, etc.

    My hunch is that the true Raider die hards would still come every week, and the Raiders would also get a lot Niner season ticket holders who had the financial means to simply double-up and enjoy tailgating and home games every Sunday of football season, instead of half of them.

    I have no doubt the Raiders would sell out Levi’s Stadium all year.

  5. @Jacob Jackson- The Raiders would need to tarp some seats at Levi’s to sellout. I would estimate put the tap on about 10k of seats bringing it down to 58k and I agree.

    This is assumes the team still sucks, if they started winning then I think they could pull of 68,500 in fans.

    As a SBL holder for the 49ers I would for sure purchase Raiders games when possible in addition to 49ers games. There maybe other teams I want to see whom the 49ers are not playing against and with cheaper prices I could even score club seats while at 49ers games I am in the lower bowl at the 5 yard line.

    I do not think a rebuilt Coliseum would work here for a few reasons.

    The structure is so old that expanding concourses, adding club levels, suites, plowing down Mt. Davis (except for the suites) would be too complex.

    Many architects will agree that in most cases it is easier to build new than to renovate or build upon an existing structure.

    You cannot dig any deeper into the bowl as the Coli already sits below sea level and they hit water years ago when trying to expand capacity.

    Mark Davis is destined to rot at the current Coli for years to come. He is so dumb he will not even entertain Levi’s as leverage on Oakland….Tells you he is going to be stuck for a while.

  6. It bugs me to see the Raiders getting this much love and attention while the A’s are seemingly being ignored. While I’m not an “Oakland only” person, I would prefer that they remain in the East Bay. I have a lot of fond memories of A’s games I attended at and I’m hoping to have more. I couldn’t care less about the Raiders and in fact, I’m hoping that THEY are the ones who move out of the Bay Area to some place far, far away. Like, say, Azerbaijan.

  7. This is the only reason why it seems Oakland probably should choose the Raiders. Mt. Davis was built for them, and if they can build half a stadium without the A’s there, makes sense economically. It has felt for a long time that keeping the A’s is a charade without anything of substance. Going all in on the Raiders seems best for what is in place.

  8. @daveybaby – Perhaps you’re right, but it still bugs me nonetheless.

  9. When the time does come for the NFL to decide on which team will be the first to move to LA, I don’t believe it will be the Raiders. I do believe that the NFL would much prefer for the Raiders to share Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, if a stadium deal at the Coliseum site can’t be worked out. I could see the Raiders signing an intermediate termed lease at Levi’s Stadium with an escape clause, if the stadium sharing arrangement proves not to be able to work out well. I do believe though that the sharing of Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers is the best and most realistic Bay Area new stadium option for the Raiders.

  10. Hey Matt, I hear you on that and agree 100 percent. The A’s did nothing wrong, have been loyal tenants since 1968, and as soon as the prodigal eye patches want to return, the city and county bend over backwards to accommodate them. We are still paying the price for that deal in so many ways. It’s why I could care less about the Raiders now, and surely would love to see them gone.
    Cannot see the Raiders going anywhere near Levi’s. The next time the Niners and Raiders work together for the greater good will be the first time. It won’t happen because it makes way too much sense.

  11. A’s should build a temp ballpark near the Coliseum. ..hence Coliseum City field. .would u guys go???

  12. ML,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Why waste the money, renovate and be done with it. Completed by 2016 if they wanted to. (sigh)

  13. I like the idea of using Mt. Davis in a new stadium too, but the fact of the matter is that 1. It’s 20 years old. 2. It’s sitting right at the mouth of the BART bridge and that’s prime commercial real estate. I can see how it’d be difficult to get investors when the entrance to this brand new Coliseum City place has a aging monument to bad decisions.

  14. Been following you for years as the authority on a’s stadium issues. Thank you so much for all the work you put into this “crusade” 🙂 But on this post I think you are missing some information and are way off on your stadium information. Here is some information from the Raider’s forum I follow from a member who spoke to the Coli City dev team: “A few confirmations from the development team:

    -The Raiders are DEFINITEY currently at the table with the Bay Investment Group, LLC negotiating the parameters of a possible deal.

    -As expected, they offered no details of the negotiations between the Bay Investment Group, LLC and the Raiders brass, as they are not a part of this aspect, or at liberty to speculate on them.

    -Phase A of the Coliseum City development continues to include construction of the Raiders new stadium first, followed construction of housing, retail, bars, restaurants, etc.

    -As expected, they confirmed that Coliseum City WILL proceed, whether the plan ends up including no new sports facilities, only 1 new sports facility, 2 new sports facilities, or 3 new sports facilities.

    -They are keeping the door open for the Warriors (as a possible part of the Coliseum City project) as we already knew. They reiterated that building any new facility in S.F. is incredibly daunting, and although their new plan faces less obstacles, there is still a very long ways to go.

    -They said that Davis and the Raiders (as far as they were concerned) have been doing everything “right” in working with all the teams involved with the Coliseum City project.

    -According to JRDV, the Raiders will have the final say as to whether the new stadium will have a retractable roof (as the City of Oakland would prefer, as to draw more events), or whether it will be open-air. Currently, the design is for the stadium to feature at least 70,000 seats.

    -When asked why Mark Davis recently stated that he was waiting on the A’s before signing off on the Raiders portion of Coliseum City project, they didn’t really have an answer than to say the A’s plans in no way should affect what the Raiders wish to do.

    -Timetable is for groundbreaking to begin during the 1st quarter of 2015, with opening of the new stadium in fall of 2018. The rush to complete this deal is on, and as the Raiders have stated repeatedly that they

    -Noel Gallo (District 5 council member of Oakland), Gregory Hunter (Deputy Director of Oakland) and one of BART’s top negotiators was in attendance to offer updates on their parts of Coliseum City.

    -Although the current Coliseum will remain standing and available for use (during construction of the new Raiders stadium and a possible new A’s ballpark–if they choose to join the Coliseum City project), the Raiders would prefer to play at CAL’s recently-renovated Memorial Stadium, or another East Bay facility if possible. CAL would need to waive a few provisions, and early word says that they are willing, as they could use the additional funds to help pay the renovations.

    -It is possible that Oracle Arena may be left in place (even if the Warriors are able to leave in 2018) to hold other activities (e.g. concerts, conferences, etc.). Plans can be adjusted either way.

    -Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report) to be released next month (May). They are completing one of the most comprehensive reports to date, as they have undertaken scenarios to comply with any of the Coliseum City plans (0,1,2,3 new sports facilities, housing/retail/science and tech district, etc)

    -Lastly, they cracked a funny, and said, “Do not believe the reports in the media.””

  15. @Steven0

    Was that another copy paste??? Look…in real life Davis and Wolff are not happy with the pace of Coliseum City project. ..also reading your post…there is no mention on MONEY!!! WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS!!! PRINCE OF DUBAI? ?? cmon man…

  16. I Have a Solution that will help our community and city as a whole The
    Oakland Raiders Needs A New Stadium North Richmond has a reputation
    for being extremely dangerousThe community is one of the most
    dangerous in the state and the  nation Richmond Should Develop a NFL
    Stadium in the North Richmond neighborhood by using eminent Domain by
    doing this we could bring jobs and money to our economy this would be
    a win win for everybody the raiders stay in the bay area like they
    want to by having the founds from the stadium we could build many more
    low income housing and focus the money on crime we could build a new
    neighborhood. here is my idea we build a new neaiborhood using low
    income grant money have everybody move from the stadium site to the
    newly built neighborhood and after we move everybody we can build the
    stadium this worked well in Los Angeles when they built the dodgers
    stadium The land for Dodger Stadium was purchased from local owners
    and inhabitants in the early 1950s by the city of Los Angeles using
    eminent domain with funds from the Federal Housing Act of 1949. The
    city had planned to develop the Elysian Park Heights public housing
    project, which included two dozen 13-story buildings and more than 160
    two-story townhouses, in the area of the new stadium we can be the
    sucess story to fix our nortourious crime neighborhood to a brand new
    stadium to keep our beloved raiders and build alot more public housing
    in our city it helps everybody out  we can redevelop our worst

  17. @Steve0 great write up, also they mentioned various taxes they are looking into and also state and federal grants for infrastructure etc, since its a transportation hub.

  18. That writeup sounds like it was coming from somebody working for the city. Everything sounds just great. Are the reports of a $500 million shortfall for a Raiders stadium inaccurate? Where is the money coming from? How come the city’s and the Raiders’ lead negotiators on this project both quit without any deal consummated?

  19. @harry the main developer/Architect who is part of the merged group of Colony Capital creating Bay Investment Group said that they are 100% fully on board with this in terms of financing this project for all situations. The developer also stated the forest city group wanted a mall included in the project and really couldn’t see the big picture outside of a mall as that is what they specialized in. So the reported 100k they are owned will be paid as the developer said forest did half of there job and want to be paid like they finished there job, but guarantee that is not stopping anything and they will pay them the remainder of the money.

  20. Wow, construction in a year? That sounds like PR … That’s extremely optimistic.

  21. Steve0 – I appreciate your optimism, but nothing is getting done before the DDA (Disposition and Development Agreement) is completed. AFAIK they haven’t even started on it, nor should they with so much up in the air. Last summer they were saying that construction could start by Fall 2014 (5 months from now). I encourage you to pay less attention to their talking points and more attention to their reports. The two are saying different things.

  22. Amy Trask was on csn recently and talked about just how daunting it will be for the raiders to actually get a new stadium in Oakland. She included in her challenges corporate support to buy up suites and club seats to offset construction costs. Ironic that they couldn’t answer why Mark Davis is waiting to understanding what’s going on with A’s but he is fully committed…really?

  23. I will say that Richmond is a untapped area that could use mAjor development…hhhmmm Richmond A’s or Raiders. …has to be private and public support for that one…plus it has 2 freeways 580 and 80 that get clogged up…u might be able to get the rich folks from Pinhole, Vallejo, Napa San Rafael to buy in…but its just not enough fans…but I do like the Richmond idea….ML can Richmond, CA work???

  24. JRDV is a small, no-name architecture firm trying to plan, finance and develop a multi-billion dollar TOD entertainment mixed use development dollar. If they move forward, this would one of the most complicated developments in the U.S.

    JRDV is in over their head and needs to be kicked out. They have no written commitments from a capital partner, they don’t have a written commitment from a sports team, and they don’t even have a signed agreement with the city. They are sticking around because the city is paying them a fee.

    The A’s and the Raiders have zero confidence in their ability to perform and they will not associate themselves with this embarrassment.

  25. @harry- yes, as i stated it is copy and pasted from a post from a Raider forum from a member who attended the workshop and has folks he knows in the raider’s org. He didn’t mention anything about funding so I didn’t include any opinions on that. My main reason for posting was to give this blog some insights into a conversation with one of the investment team members. and also to clarify the stadium specifics wrt size- marine layer was saying 50K seat stadium and investment team is saying 70K retractable roof. Perhaps the report is outdated?? not sure. glad to keep the conversation going!

  26. Sigh…well I drink to all this Oakland sports stuff…..

    Dammit A’s get your stuff together! !! Im sure we will win the AL West again…but we need some fucking hitting…this is why sometimes I wish we had a owner who can convince big time hitters to come to Oakland. a newballpark can help but we need some pull tired of live and die by pitching…

  27. @Alvin chavez / harry – There’s plenty of land in North Richmond, though I’d prefer not to use the eminent domain route to get it if at all possible. They’d need 100 acres or more to make it work.

  28. North Richmond? No BART access, far from freeway, building on reclaimed swampy material at sea level? I think they’d go to Fremont before that …

  29. If the Raiders can’t draw 60-65K+ a game, they should leave Oakland. The market is not there for them. It is football for pete’s sake.

  30. @Steve0
    Wow…you post seems contradictory to what has been reported in the media….and not just local media. Marc Davis’ comments over the past several weeks indicated to me that the Raiders are NOWHERE near having a stadium agreement. He seemed like the Raiders already had one foot out the door. 900 mil is a non starter for Oakland…they cant afford that and neither can the current ownership…..let’s be brutally honest here.

    The 50,000 seat stadium does not make economic sense. Why would Davis stay in Oakland for 50k seats when he can have 75k seat stadium in LA or go play at Levi Stadium.

    By the way, the Raiders would sell out Levi Stadium if they had a winning team to go along with it. Clearly, years of lousy football does not help the Raiders’ cause in Oakland.

  31. The thing about it is that there is a 500-600M funding gap at 50k and the JPA talking points basically say no problem- let’s see how high we can get this funding gap by proposing a near 70k capacity stadium with a roof to boot- let’s see that puts it in the neighborhood of 1.5-1.6B with a funding gap of 1B and that doesn’t include infrastructure improvements from what I can tell- which were significant-

  32. @macinator–I for one like your idea for building a mirror image of Mt. Davis.
    A phased approach is affordable and smart. If the existing location of the BART bridge is the only thing standing in the way of implementing this plan, I think that building additional diagonal bridges should be considered as they will result in a shorter walking distance to the BART station.

  33. The likelihood of this stadium being built anytime soon is very low; there is a very good reason that the Warriors are moving to San Francisco, and that the A’s and Raiders have also looked for options out of the East Bay.

  34. what could 978 mill get you in terms of HT or Quaniseum city in regards to the A’s?

  35. SteveO’s comments need to be taken with a grain of salt. How is Oakland going to fund a 70,000 capacity, retractable roof stadium – likely well over $1 bil.? Mark Davis has already stated that the Raiders will contribute $300 mil., the NFL possibibly $200 mil., – leaving the city of Oakland to provide $700 mil. or more – to cover the cost of the stadium. Besides, all the other reports claim that negotiations between the Raiders and Oakland are not going smoothly. Davis has already completely ruled out Levi’s stadium as a long term solution. ML’s suggestion of a Coliseum redo makes much more economic sense.

  36. While I believe that a move to Levi’s Stadium is the best option for the Raiders, a redo of the Coliseum is their most realistic option, if they prefer to remain at the Coliseum site. Private investors will be reluctant to fund the additional costs for building a completely new football stadium. The limited potential ROI for a limited use football stadium hinders funding from private sources. However, a much less costly redo of the Coliseum will significantly narrow the stadium funding gap and make the project more doable.

  37. ML,

    I know I’m super late in posting to this but don’t you think that only building half a new stadium to accompany Mt. Davis would result in the same thing it resulted in with them renovating the arena back in ’97? The Raiders seeking a newly rebuilt stadium in just 20 years?

    I mean, the Warriors want a new arena after just 17 years since renovation and Oracle in my opinion is still a very nice arena.

  38. @BayMetro – Certainly. I’d like to think that whatever new amenities might be needed would be baked in. You can’t predict what innovations will arise. At the same time, building a brand new, billion-dollar, 50,000-seat stadium is no way to future proof yourself either. What if they got ticket sales that supported 65,000 capacity? Then what?

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