Oakland gets a potential stadium developer, now just needs to find money

Stop the presses! Oakland may have a developer for its planned “Coliseum City” stadium and entertainment complex! Or, well, has a developer maybe interested in building it, though it’s not clear that they’re interested in being the ones to pay for it:

The investment group is composed of Colony Capital LLC, which manages investments totaling $32 billion, and Rashid Al Malik, an investor who recently served as deputy CEO of a multibillion dollar aerospace firm founded by the uncle of Dubai’s ruling sheik.

Operating under the banner Bay Investment Group, LLC, Al Malik and Colony are slated to join Oakland’s master-planning team for the Coliseum complex and help fund a new stadium feasibility study.

More importantly, they also want to take the lead in redeveloping the Coliseum complex, which is surrounded by parking lots and cut off from surrounding neighborhoods and city life.

The Coliseum City idea has been kicking around for a couple of years, and would potentially include new venues for the Raiders, A’s, and Golden State Warriors, though since I don’t think anyone’s put a price tag on any of this, it’s all complete wishcasting at this point. Still, the fact that there’s at least one developer who doesn’t think this is a totally crazy idea, plus Raiders owner Mark Davis’s insistence that he only wants a new stadium if it can be in the exact same place as the old stadium, already has people speculating that this spells the death knell for the A’s in Oakland. Like, for example, Forbes “contributor” (read: unpaid blogger) Alicia Jessop:

While some may see this move as the A’s waiving the white flag and succumbing to life in Oakland, the Raiders may slowly riding in as the A’s knight in shining armor.  The shield that the Raiders hold in this case, is that team’s desire to build a new facility on the current coliseum site.

The A’s have made it clear that they have no desire to rebuild or build a new stadium on the current coliseum site.  Thus, if the Raiders’ new stadium plan is approved the possibility exists that the A’s will be left without a place to play when construction is ongoing.  Thus, if this situation arises, might MLB be more inclined to allow the team to move to San Jose?

How should I put this? “No.” Though the image of Lew Wolff calling Bud Selig (or his successor) and crying into the phone, “They’re going to put all our stuff on the curb! Puhleeeeeze tell the Giants they have to let us move now!” is pretty amusing.

Also, note that the white flag is now available to any other A.L. team on waivers. Either that or Forbes doesn’t bother to proofread its “contributors,” and surely that can’t be the case.

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33 comments on “Oakland gets a potential stadium developer, now just needs to find money

  1. @Neil- bttm line bs has created this issue himself by “studying” a move to SJ for going on 5 years. If he had said no then your right its LW’s problem; yet he has kept SJ in the mix–if nothing more than to create competiition and force Oakland to actually do something about how they will build a ballpark and how much public funding will be available. Raiders request does put Oakland in a bind and does bring to light that some decisions–either bs approval/denying moving to SJ or Oakland identifying how and when they will build a newballpark.

  2. MLB could solve this so easily.

    “Northern California is a shared market.”

    Yes, the Giants would sue, and they’d probably even get compensated. I view that as MLB taking its medicine for a bad decision. That bad decision is now water under the bridge, so let’s just settle this and move on.

    I’m sure the Giants will demand $2B. Well, that’s what arbitrators are for.

  3. SJ A’s: “yet he has kept SJ in the mix–if nothing more than to create competiition and force Oakland to actually do something about how they will build a ballpark and how much public funding will be available.” Which is exactly why he has no incentive to stop “studying.” Wolff and the Giants both know that he’s effectively rendered his verdict, and it’s “work it out yourselves and come to me when you’ve reached an agreement.” Which will likely be never at this rate, but that’s how Bud rolls.

    MikeM: There have been innumerable MLB “crises” that could have been solved by telling certain owners to go screw themselves. That’s not how they do things, not when there are city councils (and a players union) to try to dump their problems on.

  4. Mike: I think it’s important to remember that Selig is unique among commissioners in that he wasn’t an MLB administrator promoted to the rank of commish. He was one of the owners (and, ironically enough, one who essentially stole a team from one city and moved it to another before sports leagues got all enlightened and prevented that sort of thing…).

    That is a huge difference when it comes to the ethereal “best interests of baseball”. The owners know he is not only their employee, he’s one of them. He isn’t going to stir up the membership no matter what.

  5. Substitute “New York” for San Jose as Lew Wolff’s intended destination and then please tell me how your views on what Selig is or isn’t doing changes?

    Fans seem to be operating under the assumption that San Jose is “free territory”. In sports leagues, there is no such thing in the 21st century.

  6. Telling the Mets and Yankees, “Go screw yourselves, you’re getting a third MLB team,” is actually an excellent example of a problem (competitive balance and revenue sharing) that could be solved by knocking heads, if that’s what commissioners were paid to do.

  7. “… a problem (competitive balance and revenue sharing)…”

    Not really a problem. As long as people keep buying into the idea that it is, teams will use it as part of the justification for requesting subsidies.

  8. From the local papers this is an agreement to negotiate terms over the next 12 to 18 months.

    As usual don’t hold your breath, Oak Pols have been down this path many times with may different projects, after the time period is over you will hear crickets.

    But at least one Oak City council member does not like the time frame and wants the developers to meet benchmarks and put money into game. I am sure he will be ignored.

  9. What does this announcement do to Howard Terminal? the site that had been pushed by the mayor and the ceo of clorox earlyier this year. Is that site out now or still in?

    If in, then does CC only have a football stadium? Since the gov of ca signed a bill (watered down) to speed up the process for Warriors and Kings arenas.

    if out, then CC has a baseball stadium but MLB already said they dont want a baseball stadium at the Coliseum site.

  10. Keith: I think it is a problem, albeit a solvable one – you need to move some money around between teams in order to keep the Yankees from crushing the Royals in perpetuity. The revenue sharing MLB has come up with works pretty well for this, but still ends up with some perverse incentives (hence Jeffrey Loria cutting his payroll to nothing and living off MLB checks). The best solution would be to actually level the playing field in terms of team revenue, and putting some extra teams in NYC would accomplish that nicely – though come to think of it, pooling all TV revenue (as the NFL essentially does, or as will likely happen to MLB once everyone is watching via the web) would do just as well.

    Guey: I suspect if given the choice between a new stadium at the Coliseum site and the old stadium at the Coliseum site, MLB would grow to love a new Coliseum. If they’re not paying for it, anyway, which is going to be the catch.

  11. With regarding Lew Wolff… to me Wolff apparently is well-liked around MLB. He spent several years trying to get a ballpark built first in Oakland and then in Fremont. Those efforts were unsuccessful. MLB appointed a committee which, in nearly 5 years, has not refuted Wolff’s contention that all efforts have been exhausted in the current territory. Is Wolff supposed to sell to some other party to start the whole process over again and, in 5 years, come to the same conclusion as Wolff and MLB? Whoever buys the A’s with the intention of keeping them in Oakland should be required to put up a $700 million escrow account to ensure they mean business – and that a ballpark gets built. Not several more years of “We tried and couldn’t get it done. Sorry.” The $700 million would be on top of the $500 million or so purchase price for the franchise. Or is Wolff supposed to sell at a discount – and thus devalue franchises leaguewide – just to please the Oakland-only folks???

  12. Intresting take Amy but i got to defend Mayor Quan
    It’s funny how everything is a pie in the sky there are reasons why information and potential developers aka investors to build and or buy the team haven’t been reveled,they don’t want to be until things are set in stone, and it just gives Lew Wolff ammo to sabotage again like in the past when information was released. Quan and the city have worked with and stayed in continuous contact with MLB in regards to the stadium situation. The public doesn’t need to know everything until its time. Everyone wants to discredit Quan but she has secured 1.5 billion for Brooklyn Basin which took so long to get money for Jerry Brown was still in office. Chill out she and the city of Oakland have been very inadequate in a lot of things but at least shes fighting to keep the teams in Oakland unlike Don Perata who took money for his campaign from Lew Wolff and the A’s to not fight there move to San Jose if he won mayor of Oakland. Were lucky he didn’t get in, and Quan is using her resources to actually bring investors and big time money into Oakland, who’s the last mayor to do that? It’s been a while…

  13. Wait, why should an A’s owner have to put up an escrow account? The team isn’t losing money.

  14. “I think it is a problem, albeit a solvable one – you need to move some money around between teams in order to keep the Yankees from crushing the Royals in perpetuity.”

    That assumes that franchises are building teams in the right way and all that’s missing is more cash. But many teams aren’t coming close to making the most of what they’ve got. And they’re already moving around tons of money. The national TV and MLBAM money is shared equally and there’s a certain amount of sharing of local TV money.

    Having a lot less money than the Yankees isn’t the problem. Making bad decisions with what you’ve got is the problem. The Rays have ruined it for everyone who thinks cash is the solution to making bad teams better.

  15. Keith:

    The distributed revenue in MLB has skyrocketed in the last decade. As you suggest, this does help to narrow the gap (in percentage terms at least) between the haves and have nots – at least presently.

    The past history of MLB (and other sports) suggests that when the Tampas and KC’s of the world find revenue streams (even MLB welfare) that help them close the gap, the Yankees of the world find new ways to generate revenue that the smaller markets can’t hope to similarly exploit (a rough analogy for this would be stadium subsidies… originally designed to help close said gap. Who have been the recipient of the largest MLB stadium subsidies in history? Yep. First guess. Pretty good…)

    I’ve no idea what the new streams will be (if fans are dumb enough to buy PSLs, why not personal shirt licenses? Or The Dodger Dog club… for an annual fee of $2000, you win the right to buy as many footlong hotdogs (for $7 each) as you want at every Dodger game…), but I have every confidence the higher revenue clubs will think of something.

    I’m hopeful that AM and the like might eventually put everyone on a “roughly” equal footing. Teams that can sell 45,000 tickets every game and earn $300m in RSN revenues annually will always be ahead, but perhaps by only 20% or so… not the 3-400% they once were.

    The cynic in me, however, believes the top six earning clubs will find a way to recreate the same advantage they’ve always had over the rest.

  16. PS: It isn’t only about cash, of course. The Orioles managed to spend impressively without being good for many years.

    But would you agree that having access to staggering piles of cash does make fixing your mistakes easier? The Yankees aren’t a great team these days… but if they choose, they can simply sign more $27-30m players and put their old broken down ones on the DL. Little Stein doesn’t want to do that, it seems, but the fact is they can do it. They’ve got tens of millions coming off the payroll over the next couple of years (even without the GOJF card for Arod… which may or may not stick).

    The Dodgers rise this year has comparatively little to do with the gigantic pile of salary they took on from the Red Sox. It’s more down to their younger players developing (though not solely). With the cable revenues they have coming, they don’t seem to mind having $60-80m worth of salary not playing regularly.

    Smaller teams simply don’t have that luxury, obviously.

  17. “But would you agree that having access to staggering piles of cash does make fixing your mistakes easier?”

    Sometimes. But there are plenty of instances (see: Cubs, Chicago) where teams with plenty of cash only make more problems when they try to buy their way into contention. The Yankees are always used as the prime example of the power of cash, but during their semi-dynasty that’s now coming to an end the core of the team was home-grown – Jeter, Rivera, Posada, Pettite, Bernie Williams, Cano… Yeah, their cash made it easy to keep all those guys. But small-market teams don’t have to worry about getting stuck over-paying guys on the downhill side of their careers.

    Personally, I’m okay with success being somewhat proportional to the size of your fan base.

  18. OMG Yes! Potentially good news for my Raiders. Especially since they want to remain at the Coli site. Unfortunately for Oakland, Wolff/Fisher aren’t selling and aren’t interested at staying at the Coli site. If SJ doesn’t happen, Fremont a more likely candidate for an A’s ballpark than the Coli. Nonetheless, good news for The O!

  19. Well in fairness to the critics, it wasn’t just that Wolff was a greedy developer, it’s that he was a greedy developer that didn’t want to invest in Oakland.

    Even if Wolff & Co get shot down for SJ, I think wolff has no intention of restarting Fremont. When you think about all the millions he invested and how he was shot down by some little band of “concerned citizens” made me think he didn’t have his heart in that fight.

    Hypothetically if Wolff is hemmed in by MLB, does he build w/ the Coliseum City project or does he go big w/ Howard Terminal. You have to bet the A’s staff has gotten real good at cleaning up toxic waste; lifting the cap should be a breeze.

  20. “…best solution would be to actually level the playing field in terms of team revenue, and putting some extra teams in NYC would accomplish that nicely…”
    This makes no sense, adding franchises will only hurt the new entries that are already at a competitive disadvantage by being the new guys and water down the revenue generation of existing ones.
    The NY-Philly-Boston corridor is already saturated and adding more competitors for finite $’s will only weaken the overall biz, not strengthen it.
    No different than progressive attempts to “level” society by wealth redistribution that have the U.S. in the morass we are in now.

  21. NY is anything but saturated. It has roughly as many TV households as St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Diego, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati put together, so by that standard it could support another five MLB teams. (Though to be on the safe side, I’d stop at three or four.)

  22. “…No different than progressive attempts to “level” society by wealth redistribution that have the U.S. in the morass we are in now…”

    Hmmmn. That’s what makes this site so interesting… different points of view. Some, for example, might think that alleged progressive attempts to “level” society (or sports business landscapes) are a reaction to the outlandish disparity that has been deliberately created through the misapplication of national (or league) policy.

    I understand why some don’t think it’s rational to take money from the extremely wealthy to give to the extremely poor. I just don’t understand why those same people believe it is not only rational but absolutely vital to take money from poor taxpayers to give to the rich.

    Even sports leagues aren’t so misguided as to apply salary taxes to teams at the bottom of the revenue scale to fund lavish spending at the top. Is this the new enlightenment?

  23. Kelly:

    I’ve always believed that Wolff will ultimately work with Oakland on a new ballpark “somewhere”. If HT is the more encumbered site but the one the city wants, for example, “my” starting point on negotiations would be that HOK says this site will cost $X more than others, so that money comes out of the city’s end. Now, in practice, I believe that is the site MLB expressed a preference for (unlike VC)… but there’s nothing saying Wolff can’t play both ends off on that one

    Wolff may believe he can get to another city without paying, but I think he’s wrong about that. So when it comes down to brass tacks (tax?), will he pay to get a better market (assuming MLB offers that option to him formally) or will he graciously accept “more” Oakland tax dollars to build at their/MLB’s preferred site?

    I know which I’d do. Even if he really wants to own a different team, his best bet is to get a new facility in Oakland, then sell as the MLB golden boy, then buy a franchise in a better market.

    He seems bent on refusing any and all Oakland options. Odd, as I say, because he owns the Oakland MLB franchise and no other.

  24. BTW:

    San Jose’s suit against MLB has it’s first hurdle up today…


  25. Potentially good news for Oakland: it was reported in the SF Chronicle today (10/5) that Mark Davis visited the former Naval Weapons station in Concord, CA as a potential site for a new stadium. Could be the break the city of Oakland needs to retain the A’s?

  26. Listen Dean
    What Davis did with Concord is what the Edmonton Oilers did by looking at sites in Seattle, it is just a negotiating ploy, by increasing his alternatives. Guess what? Although people in Edmonton were not happy with the tactics, in the end they worked, because the Oilers are getting their New Arena in Edmonton. I still think long-term, it will be the Coliseum Site or LA…

  27. I covered your Raiders and time frame argument by using the phrase “The A’s at some point have to go.” Do I know what that time frame would be (assuming the A’s stay at the Coliseum site)? NO! But, what I do know, is it will not be Rebecca Kaplan’s 6-8 years (unless there is some kind of an out clause for Wolff coupled with an agreement for a NEW Major League Stadium for the A’s (that means MAJOR LEAGUE not a 10-15k seat facility in Sacramento.)It could be in Oakland, it could be in San Jose, it could be somewhere out of the Bay Area, but it will not be under the same current conditions as the Coliseum. I still say we will know something one way or another before Christmas. Time is the reason. Obviously the lease issue with the A’s and Raiders (along with the 2014 NFL Schedule), but next year’s Elections with Brown, the Legislature (good luck getting a deal like we saw to help the Kings and Warriors through the Legislature next year), and especially Quan (the idea of her looking like a indecisive moron who falls somewhere on the leadership scale between “Hamlet” and “Nero” (while Oakland’s three sports teams left on HER WATCH, should encourage ANYONE with a pulse, to run and defeat her as Mayor (that kind of worst case scenario is the last thing she wants she wants as her “Legacy”)). Once again, the timing factor, will force something to happen before Christmas, that will allow most people who actually pay attention and care, to know the fate of the A’s & Raiders in the short, intermediate (and especially) in the long-term..

  28. Well well well…The fact that Mark Davis is also looking at a North Concord site as a possible location for a new stadium is very telling, along with his quotes about the merits of this site as a future home for his Raiders. Mark Davis had stated that the North Concord site is located near BART, a very important fact given that approximately 30 percent of Raider game attending fans take BART to the Coliseum. Whether this fact is true or not, it does indicate that Mark Davis has no interest in moving the Raiders to Santa Clara, other than on a temporary basis if a new stadium is being constructed at the Coliseum location.

  29. Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area could not have said it better via Twitter:

    “This is a big deal as soon as Mark Davis says, “Hey, guess who just found $700 million in his sock drawer?”

  30. Ian:

    I agree with you. If the Raiders share with the 9ers at all (and I think that very unlikely, as once they are “in” as tenants, it isn’t necessarily going to be easy to justify leaving… the stadium vacuum/disinterest in LA being what it is), it would only be while a stadium is built for them on the present site (or elsewhere, if the present stadium is demolished for other reasons).

    Hey! Anybody try flushing the toilets (at the stadium) during last night’s more or less sellout? Really? Why didn’t the stadium fill up to the second deck with raw sewage when this happened? I mean, I thought the infrastructure was utterly compromised and all that… maybe they put out of order signs on all the washrooms before the game…

  31. Danny: Which Christmas?

    What does the “timing factor” have to do with either team’s negotiations with the city?

    Both leases expire soon. So what? A new stadium can’t be ready for either team before 2016 (and that would very much be pushing it, frankly). Will the A’s and Raiders refuse to accept lease extensions???

    I’d like to see the situation resolved, but I don’t see significantly more urgency today than there was 3 years ago. Or 5 years ago.

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