With this year’s NFL Draft firmly in the rearview mirror, the time has come for Mark Davis to once again talk about the urgency required to get a new stadium for the Raiders built. It’s becoming an awfully familiar refrain, one we’ll hear again every few weeks throughout the summer and as the football season starts. According to NFL.com’s Mike Coppinger, Davis says that the Raiders are in the 11th hour, a rather dire place indeed if you believe such metaphors.
“I would probably say (negotiations are in) the 11th hour,” Davis said. “It’s always the 11th hour because we’ve been waiting a long time, been waiting a long time on this project. If it doesn’t happen, then we have to start looking at the other options. … We want to stay in Oakland. We want to get something done.”
Updated 5/29 – The story originally came from Zennie Abraham’s 5/20 post, in which he spoke to Mark Davis and Raiders finance officer Marc Badain at the owners meetings.
Oh, so it has always been urgent. Okay.
Davis even pumped up his own position by claiming that he has more money to throw at the project:
Mark Davis says #Raiders can come up with $400M to build a stadium. “But we need help.” Says if project doesn’t happen, will look at options
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 20, 2014
$400 million could be very useful. It could also be illusory. There’s no indication of whether that pledge includes money from the NFL’s G4 program or strictly from the team. Either way, the project is still short at least $500 million based on new stadium cost estimates. BayIG has its estimates, AECOM has different estimates. The EIR is due in a few weeks, and BayIG is expected to deliver a complete market and revenue study in the near future. Let’s be clear on one thing, however – $400 million is no more than a nice gesture at this point.
And there’s something odd about how Davis has gone about this stadium quest. While he has occasionally asked about land in Concord and Dublin, he has publicly stayed “loyal” to Oakland. Oakland and the JPA have reciprocated that commitment, at least to the point of getting Coliseum City studied. Yet there’s a strange omission from Davis’s efforts, and it’s a pretty glaring one once you think about it.
Davis has never proposed his own stadium plan.
Not in Oakland or anywhere else in the East Bay. Not in LA either. Instead, Davis has been content to allow others to formulate their own proposals, which he could support from a distance. As BayIG asks for information, Davis directs the front office to provide it. Then Davis will talk about the progress of the project, which has for some time now looked stunted. When the Coliseum City concept was in its infancy, there were rumblings that the Raiders and the NFL were at odds with the JPA regarding the scope of the project. The Raiders wanted an smaller, open air stadium on the site of the current Coliseum, not the big retractable dome that Mayor Jean Quan advocated. Sometime in the last year, the Raiders stopped (or did they even start?) fighting for their scaled down stadium plan.
Let’s look at the history of local stadium plans, shall we?
- Giants – Led stadium effort in late 90’s, opened new downtown SF ballpark in 2000
- 49ers – Left SF for Santa Clara, lobbied hard for new stadium, opening in 2014
- Warriors – Suffered setback with waterfront arena, then secured expensive land for different site in SF
- A’s – Led effort in Fremont which died in 2009, then took up mantle for San Jose
- Sharks – Weren’t even around when San Jose arena was first being considered, then used own money to get arena up to proper spec
- Raiders – ???
Davis showed up at a petition effort to keep the Raiders in Oakland, which makes for good optics among fans. His lack of willingness to get his hands dirty for an Oakland stadium is simply baffling. No stadium in the modern era gets built without a lot of lobbying, horse trading, and compromise. Davis has shown no sign of being willing to work to get it. His reactions have simply been, Well I’m waiting here and nothing’s getting done. Perhaps the question that should be posed to Davis is, What are you willing to do to keep the Raiders in Oakland? If $400 million isn’t going to cut it, and Davis isn’t going to carry the water for the effort, what are we dealing with here? We have seen the cost estimates spiral upward. Davis could have used that as an opportunity to present his own more feasible, more cost-efficient plan. That hasn’t happened. If I were a Raider fan, that would make me nervous.