Listening to radio and read the internets today, it was no surprise by mid-afternoon the recriminations came in full force. Denial and pain set in quickly, thanks to advance reports of the pending NFL owners’ approval of the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. So when it came time to start the anger and bargaining stage (3), no stone was left unturned, no name forgotten. Here’s a partial list of the people to blame for the Raiders’ departure:
- Mark Davis
- Libby Schaaf
- Roger Goodell
- Jean Quan
- Floyd Kephart
- Lew Wolff
- Al Davis
- Ron Dellums
- Larry Reid
- Scott Haggerty
- Fazza (Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum), The Crown Prince of Dubai
- Sheldon Adelson
Every player in this Coliseum saga wanted out of something. The pols wanted the albatross of Coliseum debt off their necks without giving away valuable Coliseum land or forcing any of the teams out. The A’s, Raiders, and Warriors wanted their own venues, preferably nowhere near one another. All were willing to leave Oakland to get that venue. The placed the City of Oakland and Alameda County in a delicate dance with three lukewarm dance partners. The team with the most freedom, the Warriors, announced their departure as soon as they could. The A’s tried to take a more circuitous route via the back rooms of The Lodge and then the court, failing to overturn the Giants’ territorial rights to the South Bay. The Raiders, whose owner had the least money and leverage, tied itself to city after city before going it alone in Vegas. Patience and persistence prevailed for Davis, as he somehow finagled gap funding from Bank of America, consequently earning the NFL owners’ trust in the process (31-1 vote).
Let’s go back to fall 2013. The A’s were focused on the postseason, while the Raiders were rolling out another bad run under Dennis Allen. In September, Davis came out of nowhere and suggested that his new stadium be built where the existing Coliseum stands. Had the JPA taken that proposal seriously, the plan would have been to demolish the Coliseum and construct a new Raiders stadium in its place, with the potential for a new ballpark down the road. The Raiders would play at Levi’s Stadium for two years. The A’s could play at AT&T Park for some length of time, probably longer than two years. Davis later rationalized the idea as needed to avoid all the construction-related upheaval and the related parking shortage.
The next spring, in 2014, Lew Wolff started lease extension talks with the JPA. Chastened by the legal loss over San Jose and MLB’s desire to get something going in Oakland, Wolff asked for a lengthy term keeping the A’s at the Coliseum until 2024. He also asked for a special set of conditions clearly related to Davis’s own concept: a process to vacate the Coliseum if the Raiders put together a Coliseum redevelopment proposal. Wolff’s notion was that the A’s needed some time to get a ballpark proposal started and wanted to minimize the chance of playing at a temporary venue (remember Cashman Stadium?). So he got language to give the A’s two full baseball seasons before they would be evicted. By this time Wolff was also working on improvements for the team’s new spring training facility, Hohokam Stadium/Fitch Park. The plans included new scoreboards for Hohokam and the Coliseum (buy in bulk!).
Even in 2014 Wolff and Davis were taking different approaches to the getting lease extensions (emphasis mine).
Wolff and Mark Davis are going at this stadium business in different ways. Wolff wants a lease extension, while taking that time to figure out the future either in San Jose or in Oakland. Davis is taking an opposite tack, declaring last year that it was time to stop delaying and get the stadium deal in place before any new lease. That puts the JPA in a very delicate spot. They’re already working with Davis, though he hasn’t been satisfied with the pace or the information he’s getting. Both owners, whether in league or not, are forcing Oakland to make a difficult decision between the two franchises. Both know that it’s incredibly hard to build one stadium, let alone two right next to each other. Public resources are increasingly scarce. Fred Blackwell’s leaving before he can get any blame for this. Smart move on his part.
Fred Blackwell. That guy is chilling at The San Francisco Foundation these days.
The A’s lease was stuck in deliberations for a couple months before approval. Raiders supporters decried it as something that would eventually force the football team out. The two-season exit, the demand for a bona fide football stadium plan and $10 million to secure it, and the length of the lease to 2024 hampered the Raiders’ flexibility. All those things would be reasonable arguments if not for the fact that Davis never formulated a proposal of his own beyond the aforementioned desire to build on the Coliseum’s existing footprint. Instead, he let Coliseum City complete its process without his signature, and the Lott/Fortress plan had virtually no input or involvement from Davis at all. Davis hired former 49ers exec Larry MacNeill as his representative at meetings. The NFL admonished both City proposals for no team or league direct involvement, yet the NFL reportedly never so much as inquired about the Coliseum land nor offered any alternatives.
A’s statement on today’s Raiders news; pic.twitter.com/K2G0m6iQC1
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 27, 2017
Easy to blame Mark Davis there, and Lew Wolff if you’re so inclined. What this showed was that Davis’s will to build in Oakland was not strong. Schaaf held firm to her no-public-funds-for-construction stance, which can be interpreted as Schaaf not having the political will to get a stadium project going in Oakland. She’ll take that.
Since 2006, the Coliseum arrangement has been a series of short-term lease extensions for both the A’s and the Raiders, with no major fundamental changes. Oakland’s goal was to stay in the game with each extension, waiting for a great plan to materialize. Maybe they expected one team to change the game by seeking different terms. Turns out that happened in 2013, when Davis admitted he wanted to replace the Coliseum and evict everyone for a couple years. That started a chain of events which eventually brought us here, with Davis getting city he’s wanted since at least 1998.
The A’s get the Coliseum if they want it, and Schaaf may finally be the mayor that gets rid of the albatross. Dave Kaval, you’re up.
This is a great blog even if a bit depressing. I say the same thing but it probably bears worth repeating:
In order to “win” (financially, competitively, etc.) the A’s will need to move past this episode. They’ll need Kaval (and probably a lot more help) to do one or more of the following:
1) Acquire net-new baseball fans and get them to be A’s fans (maybe these are ex-Raiders fans or current Warriors-only fans).
2) Convert some % of Giants fans to (or back to) being A’s fans, including the loathsome “Warriors/Niners + Giants” fan who lives in East Bay (A’s territory according to MLB).
3) Get existing A’s fans to be a bit more loyal (I don’t see how this is possible, we’re diehard).
I’m not as down as you, although you bring up good points. Pretty much everyone agrees that the Coli is the ‘path of least resistance’, Laney is the ‘neighborhood vibe’ option that has hurdles and HT is the ‘pipe dream.’
I don’t worry so much about #3. Knowing that the A’s are here to stay will make things much easier for those fans that are holding out.
To ‘win’ on pts 1 & 2, I’m convinced that the A’s have to try to make the Laney College site win, come hell or high-water. It’s so much more than just watching a game, it’s about the ‘experience.’ While the A’s can build an enhanced experience beyond what we have currently at the Coli (low bar), a neighborhood experience where you can walk to the game, hang out around Lake Merritt, and catch a drink/meal on the front/back end of the game should be the A’s #1 priority.
My guess is this is where Kaval’s head is at too. I think the City/County will be willing to deal now that they are the only team in town…
The only reason why the A’s will now be the only major Oakland sports team to permanently be remaining in town is that MLB has insisted that the A’s will not be allowed to move from their Oakland/East Bay territory. This unfortunately was not the case with either the NBA or the NFL, as it related to their respective Oakland based teams. With that fact in mind, Oakland officials should not use MLB’s hold over the A’s territorial restrictions to force the A’s to build their prospective new ballpark at what the team would deem as a less than ideal ballpark locale. That would be a grave mistake .When the A’s do ultimately determine the ballpark site of their choosing, it should be of their own choosing and not be influenced by either Oakland officials, or MLB for that matter. We soon shall see.
I knew the Raiders were gone years ago when, not long after Al died, Mark said the team needed a new stadium “yesterday.” There’s was little doubt in my mind this wasn’t going to happen in Oakland if public money was needed. Throw in the fact that the Raiders had just received $200 million in stadium improvements not too long ago (which was not supposed to impact the General Fund but of course has) and it was a done deal that there would be no publicly funded new stadium for the Raiders in Oakland.
@pjk I honestly don’t think the lack of public money was as much of an issue as the clusterfuck at the Coliseum site. If the Raiders had been offered the entire Coli site free and clear a few years ago and only one government entity to negotiate with, I think there’s a good chance they would have gotten a deal done.
That of course might have happened had it not been for our good friends at the Giants.
As much as I would love to see the A’s build at Howard Terminal, or Laney the fact of the matter is the coliseum land remands the path of least resistance. The A’s will probably will build a housing development and other ancillary development in and around the coliseum grounds. At least that’s what I hope.
At this point lets just get something done. The Raiders have two years, and after that lets please get started.
@ ML you left the Giants off your blame list.
That post is planned for Friday
Yeah I really believe it was the Giants who created this whole mess. If not for their meddling, all three teams would still be in the Bay Area… A’s in SJ, Warriors in SF and Raiders in Oakland, which I honestly believe is the best scenario for the success of each team.
I’d be interested to see what other <<>>raiders.com addresses Davis owns. I wouldn’t read much into that. I bet he owns more than a few and bought them all a while ago just to cover his bases.
OK so that “<>” was supposed to read… “insert_city_name_here”…
I believe you are absolutely correct, it was my concern (and others), that the San Francisco Giants would force the A’s out of the Bay Area, as it turned out there flat out refusal to allow the A’s San Jose, or even negotiate the matter, is at least in part what pushed the Raiders out of town.
Of course there were other factors, and plenty of blame to go around if one wishes to do so, but in essence if the A’s get San Jose and the Warriors build in San Francisco (they are), that would leave the perfect scenario where all three teams stay in the Bay Area, as Mark Davis would have had the coliseum grounds all to himself.
Its my guess that he would have been thrilled, since the coliseum land is a great fit for football, but not scenically baseball, or basketball.
I also agree that the gints are at the top in terms of blame. Ironically the opposite of what they were trying to achieve is now occurring. They will have direct competition right across the bridge and by and large the 2 big losers are the gints and MLB. For most people MLB is not a tv sport- boring as hell- going to the games is another thing- it is a fun social sport- MLB has now made the regions largest city and with the greatest growth potential going forward a tv audience only- sure- you might go to a game occasionally but with traffic the way it is who will buy season tix to either the A’s or gints. Say all you want about tradition and loyalty but MLB is clueless on how to keep up with the changing times.
I did not realize the A’s lease forbid the Raiders from building on the current Coliseum site until 2023. That is ridiculous and the JPA should be ashamed of themselves for putting that in on top of giving out a 10 year lease to the A’s with no guarantee of building new in Oakland.
The A’s knew full well Mark Davis wanted the current Coliseum site. Why? Because of the lines already run underneath the stadium and the BART station is directly connected to it. The other issue is his stadium costs 1B while the A’s 500M or so. Davis wanted to leave the Coliseum for 3 years and come back with two new stadiums on the site.
One for the A’s next door to his stadium on the current site. How does this not make sense? Instead Lew Wolff in his eternal greed (which has no bounds) would not even entertain it citing he did not want to compete for premium seating revenue with the Raiders on the same site? Excuse me?
Football and baseball are two different sports with two entirely different fan types. This plus the Bay Area is flush with corporations, so it is not like he would lose anything there. In fact, with the A’s temporarily playing at ATT Park and the Raiders at Levi’s they both would reap revenue streams not available to them right now for 3 seasons.
They would come back with cash in their pockets and new stadiums ready to go. This is the best way to go for all parties.
The A’s played Schaaf, Oakland, Alameda County and the JPA. The A’s can deny it all they want but they knew full well no city has ever kicked out one pro franchise for another. Oakland was not about to start here.
In reality, Oakland should have forced the A’s into Mark Davis’ idea or told them to take a hike. Not like Wolff/Fisher don’t have the money. Go play at ATT Park if you don’t want to get on board. NFL is a national game, baseball is a local one.
In fact baseball is dying among younger fans because they deem it too slow in this Snapchat age we live in while the NFL continues to grow at a rapid pace. You wonder why Rob Manfred tries so hard to speed the game up?
The A’s get no fans in Oakland, a new ballpark will only marginally help their attendance due to the spike in ticket prices that would occur. They would get 3k-4k of more fans, similar attendance to the Chicago White Sox.
Meanwhile the Raiders were getting sell outs and had a 20k waiting list for season tickets. SMH.
The A’s are responsible for the Raiders leaving. Oakland is just too stupid to know it.
A disclaimer….I am a 49ers SBL holder who could care less about the Raiders leaving.
I am totally not biased
If the Raiders had a season tix waiting list of 20,000 how come 12000 seats were tarped off for each game?
@GoA’s “If the Raiders had a season tix waiting list of 20,000 how come 12000 seats were tarped off for each game”
Because it’s smart business strategy. Those Mt. Davis seats are hard to monetize. The Raiders could probably only charge $25 for them, and once you count the cost of staffing and cleaning the area it’s barely a break even proposition.
The Raiders would rather create scarcity and use that demand to sell out the more expensive seats in the stadium. Once the stadium sells out to season ticket holders (as it did last year) you can then use that excess demand to raise prices (as they did this year). The aggregate amount of this year’s price increase is likely way more than the Raiders could have netted selling 12,000 cheap seats on the top of Mt. Davis.
Plus, just because you’re on the wait list doesn’t mean you’d buy just any seat that came available. Past history has been those seats are tough to sell even when the Raiders are good (because they suck).
@ Sid The A’s lease does not forbid the Raiders from building on the Coliseum site until 2023. The issue is that the Raiders could not build on the current Coliseum footprint as they wished to do until the A’s vacated, and the city would not commit to giving the A’s notice of termination (which would have started a two year clock). So the Raiders could not count on the Coli being demo’ed before 2023 (although it very well might have been if the A’s got their shit together).
The bottom line is, the Raiders were not willing to build a new stadium next to the Coli and put up with construction and traffic hassle for years afterward.
My own view is that the city should have been willing to commit to giving the A’s notice of termination if that was make or break for getting a deal with the Raiders; that was the whole point of putting that provision in the lease in the first place. However, this also shouldn’t have been a deal breaker for the Raiders. Half of the Coli site is about the same size as the entire site they will be working with in Vegas, so the issue should have been manageable.
I was under the impression that according to the ten year lease that the A’s had signed with the JPA, the A’s would agree to vacate the Coliseum two full seasons after any new stadium deal for the Raiders at the Coliseum.
@ llpec. Yes. That’s what I’m saying.
Yes, that was my understanding, if Davis wanted to all he would have had to do was come up with a 10 million deposit, have his plan, and he could have forced the A’s out, or at the vary least forced them to deal with him on his own turms but he did not.
So, the idea that the A’s kept him from doing anything at this point, is off the mark IMHO.
The Giants have to be at the top of the list! If they hadn’t blocked the A’s to SJ, they would already be in a new downtown ballpark. And the Raiders would be building at the Coliseum. The Giants sock puppets, KNBR and the Chronicle, have managed to convince people that the A’s are the villain. I would also add Bud Selig to the list. Thanks Larry!
I pretty much agree with you, BUT to be fair… Mr. Davis could have agreed to co-tennancy at Levi’s and stayed in the Bay Area also.
anybody know why the niners and raiders couldn’t work something out? only makes sense that these two teams would share a stadium with the other two team markets in the nfl in nyc and now in la have their two teams sharing or potentially sharing a single stadium.
nyj and nyg have done it since the nyj moved to the meadowlands in 1984 and now continue to share a venue with the nyg with metlife stadium which opened in 2010.
now the chargers and rams will share the new stadium in la when that venue opens in a couple of years.
what stopped the two bay area teams from sharing levi’s stadium when the idea was being brought up 5-6 years ago? i guess they were some talk in the beginning but the raiders backed off and then the niners decided to go at it on their own which at least right now it’s been a huge success at least off the field.
the niners franchise have made around 150+ million in annual profit since levi’s stadium opened in 2014 while the raiders annual profit is just about 1/3 at around 45+ million.
was it because levi’s stadium was built next door to the niners headquarters down in santa clara and if it was built at a more neutral location somewhere else in the bay area the raiders would’ve worked with the niners in building a multi team nfl stadium?
@letsgoas – As I recall, Amy Trask (former CEO of the Raiders) was pushing for just that, if for no other reason then as a temporary but better venue while things continued their glacial pace in Oakland. When the Old Man died, Mark Davis didn’t want anybody whispering anything about the Raiders going to Levi’s Stadium into anybody’s ears – much less his own – and she resigned.
Now that I think about it (and re-read the timeline), Walter Haas really screwed things up. Other than the ’89 WS, he could have made this a moot subject by getting the Coliseum torn down after the Raiders left.
But he couldn’t get it torn down, as Oakland used public funds to sue to get the Raiders back (or another NFL team) to the coliseum. Remember the eminent domain argument?
Haas compounded his error by not taking advantage of the territory rights he still had when the Raiders wanted to come back. He could have moved to San Jose up to that point (1990)!
Instead he made threats about moving out but did nothing except give away the territory rights in 1992.
He also misread the tenacity of backers of new park for the Giants. He misread the appeal of a downtown SF stadium too.
I guess one championship was worth it? It looks like the score is Giants 3, Oakland 1.
Since the Haas era of course.
Haas was more of a philanthropist than a businessman. His motivation in buying the team was to have the A’s as a resource for the people of the Bay Area (I heard his son in law say that in a class). That’s why he didn’t oppose the Raiders returning, they were also a resource. As a fourth-generation San Franciscan, he probably didn’t even consider San Jose as part of the Bay Area.
Why would the A’s have done that? they were totally dominating the Giants in attendance in the Tony La Russa era, drawing nearly 3,000,000 a year, the Giants were getting to be a joke at that time.. For example, The SF police chief was asked about the safety of attending night games at Candlestick Park – The SF Police chief commented – go to A’s games instead, much safer. The Giants were 99% out the door to Tampa Bay at that time, Haas might have pitied the Giants and didn’t want them to leave out of state – that’s why Haas gave the ok to the Giants plan of moving to SJ.- the Giants weren’t much competition for the A’s in those days.
Sad times for Raiders fans, but the first step towards getting a shovel-ready project for the A’s.
@ML, I’m looking forward to the day when you’re running discussions on the design and amenities for the A’s new ballpark. By this time next year, you’ll have nothing but positive topics for us to sink our teeth into. Keep up the amazing work.
Realistically, rebuilding at the Coliseum site makes the most sense now that the A’s are the sole team remaining. That said, maybe it’s a pipe but it would be amazing to see Oakland build something like what the Braves are building.
yeah that’s best case what the coliseum will feel and look like if the a’s were to build at that location over the howard terminal and laney sites. basically what the a’s were likely going to try to build and develop down in fremont before that project fell thru back in the late 2000s.
a lot of football teams have done that too. niners down in santa clara with levi’s stadium are planning to build a massive 7 billion dollar project on a 250 acre space nearby that is currently the golf course that will involve a 300 room hotel along with possibly over a million square feet of commercial and residential development.
patriots place maybe the best example although not sure if that area is bigger as a whole when compared to the coliseum location.
a park at the coliseum location i’ve compared to that of what the mets have with city field or phillies have with citizens bank park. nice looking parks but built out in the middle of nowhere away from the downtown areas of those cities.
now citi fied has a couple of restaurants integrated into the park like what we see here locally with the “public house” across the bay at&t and bourbon steak at levi’s stadium down in santa clara.
citizens bank park which maybe the closet thing to what the city of oakland had with all three of their teams placing basically next door with each other with the phillies baseball park, eagles nfl stadium, and 76ers arena all a few minutes walk away from each other.
citizens bank park also has a couple of restaurants integrated within the park’s structure but they also have xfinity live philly which is a basically across the street from the ballpark out in the middle of nowhere and like the coliseum location it’s nearby the philly airport too.
it’s a massive structure that contains over a dozen restaurants and entertainment options in it’s building.
the cardinals in mlb have a similar type ballpark village but of course their park/village is near downtown.
if the a’s were to build at the coliseum you’ll probably see something close to what the phillies and cardinals have nearby in terms of a “baseball village” built somewhere at the coliseum parking lot.
Now that the A’s are in a sweet position to make its demand, I think Howard Terminal should be the target. It is going to be truly iconic and transformative.
The major issue with HT is that it takes a lot more money than other sites. But I think people can see that, with or without a ballpark, if the City wants HT and the part between HT and downtown to become truly desirable, it will have to pay up for the detox and make those necessary public transit improvement anyway. Oakland politicians might have already allocated some budgets. So my guess is that from now on Kaval will urge Oaklanders to apply their voter pressure to push through these improvements. At the end of the year if it looks like the momentum is good, he can openly declare that the As intend to build at HT to further apply pressure. He can always double back to the Col when it doesn’t work.
“It’s the same, old story, same old song and dance my friend.” ( Aerosmith). This is HT versus the Coliseum for the A’s. It especially amazes me to see how many people are pushing HT for the A’s. There is going to be a huge environmental cleanup cost for that area, that may make it cost ineffective. Like it or not, the most logical site for a new A’s Ballpark will be the Coliseum, but even there we are likely talking about Construction starting in 2019, after the Raiders vacate, the 2018 California Elections, and the 2018 A’s Season. Did I forget to mention the fact that California is the WORST State to conduct business in ( making things more expensive), CALEXIT, and God knows what else? The earliest I see the A’s getting a New Stadium ( assuming they remain), will be 2021). Wake me up when Mount Davis and the bad sewage system faces the wrecking ball.
Let’s not forget…by being stuck in Oakland, they remain a “small market” team. As I recall, their revenue sharing is going away soon, and with it $30M per year! Pencilling out the financials on a ball park is no slam dunk!
In assessing which site to support — Coliseum or HT/Laney — the City should also consider the opportunity cost of putting a ballpark at the Coliseum versus a commercial development and housing. Although it’s true that the HT site in particular may require well north of $100 million in infrastructural improvements, it not only would create a huge boost to that part of the City, but would also leave the 150 acres of Coliseum land (very very valuable) free to develop for other purposes. I don’t have a strong preference on the different sites as a baseball fan. But as a resident, I love the idea of getting a downtown park PLUS a bunch of new commercial/retail development and housing on the Coliseum BART stop. If the park is built at the Coliseum site, then we only get one valuable addition to the City because no other project is ever going to spur similar development of HT.
Quoting MarineLayer himself about HT: “The untold story is that the Port is losing $10 million a year for the next several years while they figure out what to do with the land.”
Umm, if no other profitable uses are sprucing up for HT, then wouldn’t it make sense for the City to pay up and clean up HT, so it can actually make money off it? Also echoing Rickey24 above, the money spent to clean up HT and let the A’s play there effectively swaps an undevelopable site for a highly developable one, so it’s like paying 150 mil for the land where the Coliseum is.
Of course I didn’t do the calculation, but it wouldn’t surprise me if HT turns out to be the site that maximizes financial benefits for the City of Oakland.
@AsFanInFarEast – First of all, the Port operates separately from the City with its own budget. While the City makes the ultimate decision, the Port has its own goals and issues that run parallel to the City. Second, you, like many people who want this, naturally assume the the City will make money. History has shown time and time again that stadia are not natural civic money makers, and that cities would do well just to break even. Let’s say that it costs the City/Port $200 million in infrastructure. Over 40 years that’s $10 million a year. You can try to pool together all the incremental sales tax, property tax, alcohol, hotel, and event tax from a new ballpark at JLS, and you still might not get to $10 million. Unless there is a large-scale turnover of the types of buildings and businesses in and around JLS, it’s a very risky gamble.
AsFanInFarEast: Your last sentence captures what I was trying to say. With the Raiders and Dubs soon to be off the Coliseum site, it seems like the City’s focus should be a bit different now. There is now seemingly a realistic option that the Coliseum could be used for something other than sports altogether. The City should look at the Coliseum real estate and the HT/Laney land and consider what overall approach will lead to the highest and best uses (for the City and its residents) of BOTH areas considered together. I also didn’t do any calculations and don’t have the knowledge and ability to do so. But when I drive by the Coliseum, I see the potential for a dense development of mixed condos, apartments, green space, and retail within 2 minutes of a BART ride that is a short hop to a growing downtown Oakland and just 25 minutes to downtown SF. In other words, I see $$$ for the City in terms of sorely needed new residential development and an expanded commercial tax base. And if HT or Laney is also developed in parallel like we know it can be (cool urban ballpark encouraging surrounding retail and urban connective tissue), that would seem add, collectively, the most value for Oaklanders, even if HT is more expensive and complicated than Coliseum for baseball. Again, I’m no urban planner and am just looking at this through the eyes of a resident who knows we need new housing, expanded tax revenues, a more unified downtown with an improved sense of place, in addition to great new digs for the A’s.