Oakland mayor wants A’s, Raiders to go head-to-head for Coliseum land

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is reportedly about to sign a one-year lease extension at the Oakland Coliseum, which has to be considered a bit of a win for him as Coliseum officials were reportedly looking to force him to agree to a multi-year deal or make the Raiders go play in the street. But if so, any joy in the Davis camp had to be tempered by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s announcement that she plans to have the Raiders and A’s submit competing bids for redeveloping the Coliseum site.

This isn’t a terrible idea, as it at least forces both Davis and A’s owner Lew Wolff to put their money where their mouths are, and for the city to compare apples to apples in terms of who’s offering the best development-rights-funded stadium proposal — the last Raiders plan involved giving the team hundreds of millions of dollars of free land, so a little competitive bidding couldn’t hurt. Admittedly, developers who don’t want to use the land for a stadium should probably be included as well, even if only for due diligence, but baby steps, here.

Alameda County, which runs the Coliseum Authority in tandem with Oakland, still needs to sign off on Schaaf’s plan, so it’s entirely possible it won’t happen. But as former A’s exec Andy Dolich told the San Jose Mercury News, at least it’s some kind of attempt to assess the city’s options:

“This could very well be a circumstance where the mayor understands the clock is ticking,” he said. “You can’t wait forever. You’re going to have to push people in a way that they don’t want to be pushed to see what is reality and what is fantasy.”

The danger here, on the other hand, would be that the public debate will end up coming down to “Which stadium plan is better?” even if both of them suck from the public’s perspective. But still, getting two sports magnates to fight for your affections isn’t the worst way of trying to get a better deal, even if the deal that results may just be the lesser of two evils.



13 comments on “Oakland mayor wants A’s, Raiders to go head-to-head for Coliseum land

  1. No sports venue alternatives have been at least passingly explored for the Coliseum site, albeit by past development groups. I believe there was one where the Coliseum was knocked down but the Oracle Arena was retained as an entertainment venue (with the Warriors still planning on moving to San Francisco) and another where both buildings were demolished and no new venues constructed.

  2. Is it possible that the plan from the A’s could include a football stadium for the Raiders?

  3. Anything is possible, but it’s hard to picture Lew Wolff looking at a plot of land and thinking, “You know what would help pay the bills here? A football stadium.”

  4. The Raiders plan will not realistically include an A’s stadium, and the A’s plan will not realistically include a Raiders stadium. The economics of 2 new venues on the site were already shaky when the plan was nearly 800 acres in size. Now that it’s down to 120 acres, it’s going to be effectively impossible to have more than 1 new venue on the site.

  5. I applaud Mayor Schaaf for this move. I believe the anonymous commenter is correct in saying that there has been no concrete stadium proposal made by either the A’s or the Raiders. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) Schaaf is simply asking to see what they’re really willing to do. Makes perfect sense to me.

    It is possible that the A’s and Raiders could instead collaborate on a dual proposal that includes a stadium for each (or a dual use one). I consider this highly unlikely but it’s possible. Given that such a dual proposal is unlikely, it’s perfectly reasonable for Oakland to see which of the two possibilities is the most beneficial to their city.

    I’m pessimistic that a deal can be made which gets them one new facility, let alone two. But there’s no way to know until we see some kind of real proposal. Libby has just asked both players to show their cards. Good move!!

  6. Agreed Vinnie.

    The one thing most sports construction projects lack is any form of competition. We’ll see if Schaaf has managed to create that here or not in time, but at least she has tried.

    Contrast that with Chicago/Glendale’s deals with Jerry Reinsdorf… where they offered the moon and he said “not enough” so they offered more.

  7. And don’t forget D.C.! There’s a reason MLB picked him to run the Expos relocation, clearly.

  8. That was my initial thought too, Neil. But then I started considering that Lew could build his stadium where the current Arena is, rebuild the Coliseum into a modern football facility, and generate lease income from the Raiders. I assume that since the Raiders do not have the cash to build their own stadium that leasing from Lew is the next best alternative…

  9. Oh, there’s room for two stadiums. But then there’s no room for any other development, and that’s what has a chance to actually make money. If you fill up the lot with two stadiums and some parking, it’s going to be a money-loser for either team unless it gets massive subsidies.

  10. Dean, I think that idea is possible but economically rather unlikely simply because of the money required for a new facility (or one and a half).

    Remember that they already did do an upgrade to the Coliseum to try to make it better for football. It didn’t work and we’re still paying for it. (I watched a game there once when my son was little. We had to stand the whole game and I had to hold him the whole time if he were to see anything.)

    Neil, isn’t the idea that they’ll be given land from the city to do other development? While there might not be room right there, I do think there are a lot of adjacent parcels without significant development that could be developed. However, that whole area is rather depressed making me think that even giving development rights away might not be enough to get even one new facility going.

  11. “The amount of land being discussed is merely the 120-acre Coliseum complex (out to Hegenberger), no additional land involved. That’s also a game-changer, since shrinking the focus to 120 acres would preclude further public land acquisitions by the City, County, or JPA.”


  12. Thanks Vinnie. From an economic standpoint, I see what you are saying. I just hate thinking that it will come down to one team staying and one team leaving. I have been going to the Coliseum and Arena since 1968. I know the facilities aren’t the greatest but there is so much history…the Heidi game, Sea of Hands, the A’s winning 3 World Series in a row (two coming at the Coliseum), the Warriors World Championship…