Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has agreed to a new lease at the Oakland Coliseum for the 2016 season, and for anyone hoping the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Authority would drive a hard bargain with Davis since he has nowhere else to play this year, nope, that didn’t happen: It’s just a one-year lease with two one-year team options, meaning the Raiders can leave anytime after 2016 that they want to, but can also stay put if they so choose without having to renegotiate. The authority did manage to get an (undisclosed) rent increase, but otherwise public officials pretty much gave up any leverage they had over the team, presumably hoping the resulting warm fuzzies will encourage Davis to build a new stadium with several hundred million dollars he conjures into existence with a wave of his hand.
The lease deal, which still needs to be ratified by the Oakland city council and Alameda County board of supervisors, at least accomplished one thing: Davis has stopped complaining about Oakland again, and is now back to blaming his lack of a new stadium on his other favorite nemesis, A’s owner Lew Wolff:
“There’s an elephant in the room, and that’s the Oakland A’s,” Davis said after Thursday’s press conference. “They have to make a commitment to what they want to do.”…
“They signed a 10-year lease while we were negotiating with Oakland officials), and it kind of put somebody right in the middle of things,” Davis said. “There isn’t much you can do. They’ve tied our hands behind our back.
“Now it’s up to the A’s to make a declaration of what they want to do. If they don’t do that, I don’t see how we can make a deal.”
Signing a 10-year lease seems a pretty strong commitment, but presumably what Davis means is “Hey, Oakland, make Lew Wolff pick one side of the room and stay there, and we’ll build a stadium on the other side, if there’s room, and if we find money somewhere, maybe.”
Realistically, nothing is getting built in Oakland anytime soon, and probably not at all until either Wolff or Davis can force the other out of town, thus clearing the way to control all the Coliseum property themselves. Since it’s far easier to find viable NFL sites than MLB ones — thanks to that whole thing about local cable revenues, and hence local cable market size, not mattering for the NFL — it’s likely to be the Raiders who blink first and end up in San Antonio or Las Vegas or Kankakee or even sharing digs with the Rams in Los Angeles, if San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos succeeds in getting stadium cash out of his city and forgoes the right to move to L.A. Tune back in around November, and in the meantime, try not to stare too hard at the tea leaves, you’ll strain your eyes.