What happens to the would-be lame duck Oakland Raiders?


The Raiders unceremoniously filed for relocation to Las Vegas last week, a move as predictable as expecting the sun to rise tomorrow. Raiders owner Mark Davis has stayed steadfast in his opinions of Sin City since last year’s Carson stadium plan was rejected. Many questions still exist regarding the plan regarding the financing, potential attendance, and whether the franchise will actually make significantly more money there as opposed to Oakland. While I remain skeptical about the Raiders’ prospects in Vegas, I’ve come around to thinking that ultimately it won’t matter. If the Raiders move, they’ll get a massive subsidy from Clark County. If they come up short, they’ll somehow finagle their way to get another subsidy on top of that. The team can always cook the books in some way to make it look like they’re losing money even if they aren’t, which would start the cycle of getting more public money all over again.

Oakland and Alameda County limited their contributions to cheap land and subsidized infrastructure, and naturally, the NFL is not impressed by this. Yet the NFL has given the city/county several years to come up with some sort of plan that fits within the NFL’s typical stadium-building business model. At this point it’s simply unreasonable to expect the two sides to come to an agreement that is mutually satisfactory, let alone beneficial, within the next two months. While this isn’t a zero-sum game, there is always a winner, and it’s usually the NFL. When the public statements boil down to Oakland saying it has a plan and the NFL saying Oakland doesn’t, there isn’t much common ground.

Should Davis get the necessary 24 owner votes to move, he still plans to play out the next two lease option years at the Coliseum while the Vegas stadium starts construction (which may not happen until 2018). The lease allows for this, a huge mistake on the part of the City/County. Two lame duck years may be propped up by a more competitive Raiders team. They will suffer severe backlash from long-time Oakland Raiders fans. How much? Well, it won’t help that for the first time in twelve years, the Raiders are raising season ticket prices.


2017 Raiders Season Ticket Prices

Surely, some fans who are location-agnostic will continue to come to games. The Raiders have good information on this so they have to be preparing for the worst. Though honestly, I have no idea what to expect. I’ve had many fans tell they’ll never go again, some who’ve said they’ll appreciate the time they have left with the Raiders, some who won’t go because of the ticket price hikes, and others who’ll continue their traditions of tailgating only or watching on TV. Dean Spanos chose to have the Chargers play in a stadium that currently seats only 27,000 (at least it’s in Carson, right Dean?), smaller than capacities for some two dozen FBS programs (out of 128). The Raiders could face hundreds of weekly references on Empty Seats Galore. It’s a sad way to go out, and probably not what the NFL intended. That rant, and the NFL’s mismanagement of the LA situation, deserves a much longer treatise at a later date.

The A’s have stayed largely quiet on this, other than a bit of shade thrown the Raiders’ direction last year. They just want the NFL to get on with it, though they won’t say that publicly. Yes, the search for the best site in Oakland remains ongoing. Then there’s this.

Sometimes it’s best to simply not say anything until it’s time to do so.

28 thoughts on “What happens to the would-be lame duck Oakland Raiders?

  1. I imagine that if the Raiders do leave, the A’s will likely decide to build their new ballpark, plus their “ballpark village”, at the Coliseum, being the easiest and least expensive of the options they are considering. This would mean that the Raiders will have to deal with construction activity, traffic, less parking, and other disruptions for those two seasons, further discouraging attendance. I thought the Raiders were considering playing temporarily at UNLV’s football field, or another interim stadium in LV? Seems like a more reasonable option for them.

  2. would the a’s build the park first and at what location on the coliseum site? there was a report last year i think that the a’s were looking at a site on the southwest location of the coliseum area adjacent to hegenberger road.

    if the a’s did choose that site there would be no disruption with parking and such for any of the three teams playing there for the next few years until the w’s move across the bay and the raiders move to las vegas.

  3. If and when the Raiders leave Cali 4 Las Vegas they will be betraying a fan base that has been built up since its inception. And for that I say shame on you, shame on you.

  4. I know the Raiders raised prices, but didn’t they substantially lower prices on many season tickets when they closed off the top of Mt/ Davis? Surely someone in Raider Nation has done the math on historical pricing in their post-PSL world. Their 2017 prices are still very reasonable by NFL standards, especially in the lower/middle price ranges.

    (I’m comparing this to what the Sharks just did, raising mine 27% and more than doubling prices for the first 3 rows…)

  5. @ML I fall in the “appreciate the time they have left with the Raiders” category, I’m reupping my tickets.

    I think the Raiders will do fine attendance-wise this year (perhaps unfortunately). The team is good and fun, tickets remain reasonable even after the price increase, and I’ve been told the Raiders have a 14,000 seat waiting list for season tickets. Some will likely drop out, but I think the Raiders are gambling those people can be replaced (and they’re probably right).

    Now, what the mood will be like at the Coli if the Raiders get approved to move, that’s a different story…

    • If the prices for tickets on Stubhub are any indication, the Raiders will do fine next year.

      • Are they selling or sitting? Prices on Stubhub don’t mean a thing until someone clicks “buy.”

        That said, I don’t expect attendance to suck but we really have no way of knowing just yet. I plan on going to a few games regardless of what happens with Las Vegas.

  6. very surprised that the raiders would continue to play TWO seasons at the coliseum while everybody would know they’re leaving for vegas eventually.

    has that ever happened before with any other team in any other leagues? can’t remember in recent history.

    • The Braves played a lame duck season in Milwaukee. I don’t know of any team that spent two years in a market it was leaving.

      I can’t imagine the Raiders would stay in Oakland, after completing the necessary steps to go to Las Vegas, for two years. That seems crazy… But, the alternative is some kind of temporary retrofit at Sam Boyd Stadium and I haven’t spent a lot of time reading about how possible that is.

      So, who knows?

      • Apologies for the OT comment, but some long-time troll tried to sneak in a bunch of weak-ass hate-filled comments. They never got past the filter. Off to the spam pile you go.

      • The ex-Houston Oilers had planned to play three years in Houston before their new stadium in Nashville would be ready. The ’96 season was played before several crowds of under 20,000, so an agreement was reached to allow the team to play the ’97 and ’98 seasons in Memphis, as the largest Nashville stadium (Vanderbilt) was considered too small for the NFL. The ’97 season wound up being equally disastrous (Memphisians didn’t want to support a team from rival Nashville, and highway construction that year made the three-hour drive from Nashville into a five-hour slog), so Adams and Memphis agreed to tear up their agreement and the team wound up playing at Vanderbilt after all in ’98.

  7. Davis evidently must be receiving some type of deal from Las Vegas, the guy is clearly in the drivers seat. Oakland is willing to renew leases with the Raiders, they are drawing respectable crowds, the Raider’s don’t need to rush into a bad agreement. It’s also doubtful that the Vegas fanbase could support the Raiders like Oakland does. Even San Diego has opened up as an option for the Raiders. The NFL would waive relocation fees to a team relocating there. There a likely a few NFL teams ready to pounce on a San Diego opportunity also.

    • No one knows what the NFL would do regarding any relocation fees for any team to move anywhere, other than the Chargers to LA which has already been decided. And what other teams are going to move to San Diego where a significant investment towards a new stadium would still be required? Maybe Jacksonville? I doubt it’s worth Buffalo’s while, and every other team already has a more secure stadium situation.

      • The NFL commented that if a franchise were to relocate to a city which lost a franchise, they would not charge a relocation fee (in 2015, when the Raiders/Chargers had the Carson plans)Jacksonville would be a candidate.

  8. I do have a odd question;

    With the Dubs moving across the Bay, and with A’s ownership / management wanting a “Ballpark Village” , couldn’t the current Oracle Arena become something like what Memphis did with the Pyramid? Where the arena is turned into a shopping mall? Or would it be that the whole Coliseum property not be sold to the A’s?

    • Any of those options is a possibility. Mayor Schaaf has expressed interest in keeping the arena as some sort of events venue, which is a good idea if the cost to do it is affordable. If not, there are redevelopment options which could involve demolishing the arena or repurposing it the way the Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens and Montreal Forum have been redone. (Though I don’t see the arena as the best site for a gigantic Bass Pro Shops like Memphis) There’s a lot of acreage at the Coliseum, and all of it needs to be planned to be well integrated and beneficial to the public.

      • if arena is kept somehow try to integrate a oakland sports hall of fame into it?

        i’ve also read about some thinking it could turned into something like a shopping mall, movie theater complex, or even apartments.

        don’t know how much it’d cost to do that but in the end i’d imagine it’d be torn down and something new would be built over where it stands whether the a’s build at the coliseum location or not.

      • I’d love to see the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame take up permanent residence in any A’s related development that eventually takes place. It’d be a regional draw 🙂

  9. If the Raiders are allowed to move to Las Vegas. The NFL cannot have the Raiders play 2 maybe 3 lame duck seasons in Oakland. Houston is the example of this when the Oilers moved to Nashville.

    20k of fans per game in Houston.

    Raiders would have to pay money to upgrade Sam Boyd Stadium and limit the # of lame duck seasons to 1 max. Play 2 more there and be good to go.

    No way this stadium is ready for 2019 when Mark Davis (the moron he is) does not have a site picked out. How do you file for relocation with no site? SMH.

    Plus the 49ers got Levi’s done in 2 years because of no dome. With a retractable roof no way this is done in 2 years. The Warriors are shooting for shade under 3 years for an arena! Much less 65,000 person NFL stadium.

    As for the A’s, Mark Davis is such an idiot I bet the NFL turns him down in March because of all the gaping holes in his agreement with Las Vegas.

    But they will tell to fill those holes and come back next year. Which buys Oakland some more time.

    The A’s are still in wait and see mode with the Raiders. They refuse to share the Coliseum site with them and are willing to wait as was the case with Lew Wolff. David Kaval is buying time.

    With Wolff out, Kaval got the time Wolff was running out of hence the change at the top by John Fisher.

  10. Interesting note from Dave Kaval interview on 95.7 @ fan fest, he mentioned possibly needing fans to come and support the ballpark efforts at community meetings in Oakland or Sacramento. Why Sacramento? Could that be waterfront related?

  11. looks like kaval if he had it his way would prefer either ht or one of two rumored sites around laney college. howard terminal seems like it’s gaining momentum due some recent developments.

    holding fan fest at jls and away from the coliseum.

    there was a report by the beatwriters after fanfest that the org sent out drones above fan fest as it was taking place to look at the flow of the foot and car traffic along with where attendees parked their cars around the area.

    kaval having repeating many times in the last week that he wants a intimate park feel and would you really get that if you built at the coliseum site which is where financially it might make more sense. but howard terminal or laney would give you that distinct neighborhood feel that kaval himself has said he wants from the a’s new park comparing it to what wrigley and fenway has right now.

    building a small park and or having that neighborhood feel at the coliseum would be artificial at best, basically what the a’s wanted to do in fremont with the ballpark village that was supposed to be linked with the park.

    you would get natural feeling at either howard terminal and especially laney where at the very least with laney you would need to squeeze in a park within a restrictedly space. the howard terminal site is bigger so design and building the park there wouldn’t be the potential restrictions faced but of course ht has it’s own issues that don’t aren’t even related to size of the site.

    if i had to put odds on it i would still continue to put the coliseum location as the most likely site the a’s pick, laney second, and howard terminal third.

  12. The Laney College locale is by far the best site for a new A’s ballpark. Unlike the other proposed sites, this location already has both the necessary transportation infrastructure already in-place, and a fully developed surrounding neighborhood. Also, this site is in close walking proximity to the Jack London Square area.

    • The location that some of Laney College sits was to be the original location for the Coliseum in the 60’s. As for the A’s moving to a site near Lake Merritt / Laney College, how much would that cost compared to the existing Coliseum area? And how much will Oakland / Alameda County kick in for any site the Athletics pick? I have not heard from any city / county leaders on how much they would help for a new Athletics ballpark. They were willing to give $200M to help the Raiders. Would that be true for the A’s?

      • too bad it never happened. could only imagine how a sports venue located a that spot near downtown oakland would’ve changed the area of the city for the good and what it would’ve meant for the city as a whole both from a local and national standpoint.

        if built would that have meant there wasn’t going to be laney college built at that location? that parking that was initially going to be there we may have seen a entertainment district surrounding the park well before to we’ve seen with so many parks built in the past few decades.

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