NFL approves Rams move to L.A., lets Chargers reboot stadium demands, tells Raiders to play in traffic

After a long day that dragged well into evening (for East Coasters, at least), the 32 NFL owners finally voted on which teams to approve moving to Los Angeles, and the verdict was: Stan Kroenke has approval to move the St. Louis Rams immediately while building a stadium in Inglewood, while Dean Spanos has until next January to work out a deal to have the San Diego Chargers join them, with Mark Davis getting second dibs on having the Oakland Raiders share digs with the Rams if the Chargers turn it down.

In other words, pretty much exactly what I predicted on Monday. Yay me! (Though with the writing on the wall at that point, it wasn’t that tough of a guess.)

I’ve written up a long analysis of the winners and losers of this decision for Vice Sports, so please go there now if you want the full blow by blow. For here, I’ll just note a few highlights from The Decision: NFL Edition:

  • Man, Stan Kroenke sure wanted to move to L.A., didn’t he? He’s now on the hook for $2.66 billion in stadium construction costs (according to his claims, anyway, but even if it’s only $1.8 billion that’s still a lot), plus $550 million in relocation fees, which even for a guy with a $7.5 billion net worth is a significant chunk of change. He’ll be able to avail himself of the L.A. market for personal seat licenses and naming rights, and $200 million in NFL G-4 money, and about $180 million in sales tax kickbacks, and … and I still don’t see how he’s ever going to make back his investment, given that only one team in football is worth $2 billion more than the Rams were in St. Louis, and that’s the Dallas Cowboys, who are a case unto themselves. Branding his development as some kind of NFL theme park had better be history’s most successful business move ever, that’s all I can say.
  • All y’all who said the NFL would never approve a stadium plan that was mostly private money, they just did. In fact, this is the third stadium in recent years with relatively little in the way of public subsidies, following the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants and Jets. I wouldn’t presume to think this is going to be a trend — plenty of teams in smaller and less subsidy-averse markets are still getting money thrown at them — but it does show that in particular circumstances, owner-funded stadiums can and will happen.
  • There are a lot of shoes still to drop. First and foremost, Spanos and Kroenke need to start talking about a lease deal for a shared Inglewood stadium, something that hasn’t even begun to happen, given that 24 hours ago Spanos still insisted he’d never consider such a thing. At that point, a new two-front game of chicken will begin, with Spanos simultaneously playing the “I can just go back to San Diego” card with Kroenke and the “I’m outta here if you don’t cough up a stadium” card with San Diego. Meanwhile, Davis is almost certain to start playing footsie with St. Louis for its now-rejected $477 million stadium subsidy offer — in his post-meeting statements last night, he made a point of talking about “Raider Nation” without breathing the word “Oakland” — though he’s unlikely to pull the trigger on anything until he sees whether the Los Angeles option is entirely closed to him.

That’s it for now — like I said, head over to Vice if you want more. Though one more item that I didn’t get to include in the Vice piece is this jaw-dropper from Kroenke post-decision:

Yep, that’s what it was all about: Think of the children. That’ll be sure to get at least a footnote in the next edition of the stadium-grubbers’ playbook.

[UPDATE: One more twist that hadn’t occurred to me when I filed my Vice story: What happens to PSL holders in St. Louis? Looks like they could try to sue for the right to buy Rams tickets in Los Angeles, which even if it would almost certainly fail, would be frickin’ hilarious.]

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74 comments on “NFL approves Rams move to L.A., lets Chargers reboot stadium demands, tells Raiders to play in traffic

  1. When did Davis say that? He’d be crazy to give up the leverage of the St. Louis offer, even if he didn’t really want to move there.

  2. I’m not sure Reuters got that right. Here’s the actual video:

  3. I saw a video of it last night. I’m having trouble finding it this morning, but I saw it with my own two eyes. He said clear as day that St. Louis wasn’t an option.

  4. That’s very odd. (Though “very odd” and Mark Davis go together like bagels and lox.) Do you recall whether he said not an option for 2016, or ever?

  5. Neil – like the analysis over at Vice. I think that – as I said last night – this option produces the fewest losers, and none of which…yet…are owners (except for Mark Davis, which is also a win for the rest). Yeah, the Chargers are on the clock but I think this increases their leverage.

    I think the alternative, denying Inglewood, would have made a rather powerful billionaire owner very mad…and we all know how the NFL does in a courtroom.

  6. Somebody asked if St. Louis was an option, and he said something like “No” or “It’s not an option”. Very brief. I don’t know what he has against St. Louis that he literally said the whole world is an option, except for them. Maybe Mayor Slay insulted his haircut.

  7. Mark Davis has already had negotiations with San Antonio. Red McCombs said last year that they could put a deal together within days once he says he is ready. I keep seeing references to Toronto but I am not sure where that comes from.

  8. LA is closed to Mark Davis and the RAIDERS. Spanos might have been a willing partner with MD but I doubt he would live with three teams being in Southern California as it was when it was the Chargers, the Rams and the RAIDERS in the 80’s and 90’s. Going forward, MD is a position of weakness. St. Louis may have offered Kroenke $447 million but they will not offer it to a desperate Mark Davis. As for San Antonio, McCombs can apply muscle to get MD to sell a piece of the team for his help. The owners basically put MD in a raft in shark-infested waters.

  9. If anything, Kroenke should have even less of an incentive to pursue a shared venue arrangement at this point. The Rams basically have total control over the LA market as of today. I can’t imagine a guy like him wanting to give that up.

  10. So are the Rams going to play home games for the next three seasons in the LA Coliseum? And if they can play there for three seasons, why can’t they play their for 30 years?

  11. Bleacher Report put up a video mentioning that Davis bought a plot of land between San Antonio and Austin:

    The speculation I saw elsewhere about where exactly this land is mentioned the Retama Park race track just northeast of San Antonio. Apparently land ownership is published by each county in Texas, so if Davis does in fact own land around San Antonio, someone should be able to find it in public records.

  12. So LA (or the LA area, at least) lost the Rams (and the Raiders) because they wouldn’t build them a stadium and now, lo these years later, they’re getting the Rams back, even though they aren’t building them a stadium?

    I recall hearing Davis rule out St. Louis last night as well. So his ‘the whole world’ comment seemingly excludes St. Louis and (based on historical comments) Santa Clara. Another thing he mentioned is that the Raiders don’t have a lease in Oakland for next season, so I’m wondering if a Baltimore Colts middle of night move to San Antonio or Toronto or anywhere else in ‘the whole world’ (except for St. Louis and Santa Clara) is something he’s contemplating right now.

  13. The question becomes does St. Louis want the Raiders? Granted the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs have a wonderful rivalry which would continue I would think but does/can St. Louis support a team which after it moved to LA developed an even bigger bad boy image? Does this fit in the Midwest? No, and Mark Davis sees greener pastures in the city of San Antonio. Supposing this happens and Davis with league approval moves the Raiders to San Antonio what then of the Chargers? If I’m the Chargers I Bolt(pun intended) to Levi stadium in Santa Clara and share the costs with the 49ers.Whoopsie.The cost to move the Rams to LA just increased Big time.

  14. Why do people have this delusion that people like Kroenke don’t care about folks who currently have lower incomes?

  15. Kei: If Kroenke can extract enough rent from the Chargers to help pay his $3B nut, I can see him doing it. But yeah, he has every incentive to play serious hardball.

    Scott: There’s a difference between “can” and “want to.”

    Anon: Having land is one thing, but I still don’t see Davis building a stadium in San Antonio on his own dime. So still a lot there to work out, which is why I’m puzzled why he’d rule out St. Louis even as a stalking horse.

    Harrylee: Pretty much, yeah. And the Colts moved in the dead of night to flee a pending eminent domain seizure of the team by the state legislature; unless Mayor Schaaf tries something similar, Davis can probably afford to have the moving vans pull up by daylight.

    Pauly: My sense is that St. Louis would take the Steagles if that’s all they could get.

  16. Ben: I have no idea who Kroenke does and doesn’t care about, but there is no way “helping the less fortunate” is among the top 100 reasons he’s moving to Inglewood.

  17. Definitely a strange day. Advisory committee says one thing, the 32 teams do just the opposite. Weird.

    Fooled me, for sure.

    Mark Davis was in such a good mood that I wonder if he “received assurances” in the background. Chargers to LA doesn’t seem as firm as Rams to LA.

  18. Neil…I think the $2.66B includes financing costs, so are we comparing apples and oranges here with other stadiums? From….

    “The $2.66 billion price tag for the Inglewood stadium includes financing costs. The 70,000-seat venue will be privately funded with personal seat licenses and a $200 million loan from the league’s G-4 stadium program.

    New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s Giants and Jets, opened in 2010 with a $1.6 billion price tag making it the world’s most expensive stadium built to date. The Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the so-called “Jerry’s World,” and the 49ers new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara each came with $1.3 billion tabs. The new Yankee Stadium came at a cost of $1.5 billion.”

    (Another reference..

    I thought the Niners stadium straight construction costs were $1.3B.

    And the $2.66 is JUST the stadium, not the “entertainment district”, etc. ?

    I am trying to comprehend how Kronke is thinking he going to pay this off (or maybe he doesn’t care if he does). Beyond stadium-specific revenue, is he thinking the district. etc is going to generate enough profit to help pay for the stadium. (Similar to what Wolfe did with the Quakes and housing complexes in another part of San Jose.).

    If a joint owner situation is working in NY with Giants/Jets @ $1.6B that all well and good, but at $2.66B, the numbers just seem crazy (as you have said on multiple occasions).

  19. Fred Noggin posted a tweet last night that claimed that the lease terms to the Chargers would be $1 per year (this is more than they pay in San Diego). This makes sense, as the price they would pay for NOT being equity partners in the stadium. I’m sure there would still be opportunities for game day revenues in terms of signage, parking, etc, but not much else.

    1. I think this is pretty clearly wild speculation:

      What the Chargers will have to pay in an Inglewood lease will be determined by whatever Spanos and Kroenke come to the table with, and at what point they’re each willing to walk away. Whatever the other NFL owners think should happen isn’t really going to come into play.

  20. I agree Neil. My point was simply that he allegedly already controls the necessary land near San Antonio, which if true is more than can be said about a site in any other market. He would definitely still need some financial help to get it done, but Texas sure does love football and doesn’t seem to mind throwing money at it.

    At the end of the day, I think San Antonio makes for a pretty solid stalking horse for the Raiders. And they could potentially have additional stalking horses in the form of San Diego if the Chargers decide to go to LA and in the form of St. Louis if Davis publicly changes his mind about that.

  21. JC: Even without financing costs (and Kroenke’s never specified what that means — payments to bond lawyers? interest?), it’s still at least $1.8b for the construction cost plus $550m for the relocation fee. That’s a very different scenario from either Santa Clara or New Jersey.

  22. Bleacher Report staffer Jason Cole said three sources have told him that Davis has bought a parcel of land between San Antonio and Austin where he can build a stadium if the Raiders don’t move to LA or if Oakland doesn’t give him what he wants, which is a new stadium.

    How can we find out if this is true? The media knew when Stan purchased land in Inglewood.

  23. A stadium between San Antonio and Austin makes way more sense than one in St. Louis. Just look at the current population and most important the future growth…

    City 912,791
    Metro 1,943,299
    San Antonio
    City 1,436,697
    Metro 2,328,652

    St. Louis
    City 319,294
    Metro 2,810,056

    Also, politicians in Texas have proven that they have no problem spending tax payer money on stadiums and arenas. The Spurs recently received over $100 million to renovate the AT&T Center. I can see the Raiders playing at the Alamodome for a couple years until they get a new stadium.

  24. I don’t quite understand what the significance of Mark Davis owning land in San Antonio might be. It’s not like he has any money to build anything on it anyways. The whole “Raiders to San Antonio” business was predicated on the city building him a stadium with taxpayer money.

    If Davis was going to build a stadium with him own non-existent fortune, why the heck would he choose San Antonio over Oakland or Portland, another city rumored as a Raiders home, both of which are bigger and richer than metro San Antonio.

    Then again what do I know. I didn’t think anyone was going to LA because no one was going to recoup the stadium cost.

    However, if we’re doing a rethink this morning in light of the Rams in LA and the private stadiums in NY and Santa Clara, something has clearly changed. In the 90s NFL teams moved from big markets to small ones because of stadiums. Oilers to Nashville, Rams to St Louis, etc. A favorable stadium deal trumped a market. Now it seems, for whatever reason, that’s over. Rams just paid half a billion to get back where they were years ago. Texans are much more valuable than the Titans.

    If that’s the case, San Antonio, St Louis, etc. aren’t threats anymore. It means the era of moving from a big market to a smaller one is over. No more moves until the Portland Bills and the St Louis Jaguars. Then again, what do I know.

  25. James: Sure but they are 80 miles apart. Also, yes combined they have 5.1M people but the San Francisco/Oakland and San Jose metros literally touch in Fremont and Palo Alto making them 0 miles apart and have a combined 6.8M. Furthermore, the combined Central Texas metros have a GDP of $129B vs. $619B in the Bay Area metros.

    The Bay Area has more people, but more to the point it has more people with disposable income to buy expensive football tickets, more companies to be corporate sponsors, etc.

    If you can find a place where both San Antonio and Austin residents can both easily attend a game, the market would compare favorably to St Louis, but not to Oakland.

    Frankly, Davis is in the best market that is still available to him.

  26. @Scola
    I was comparing St. Louis to San Antonio and why Davis would rather go there than St. Louis. There’s no doubt about it. Oakland is the best market for the Raiders.

    The problem is they can’t build a stadium there. The city would rather give the land around the stadium to the A’s than the Raiders (with a good reason since baseball has way more games than football). I just don’t see any way they can make it work, unless the NFL forces them to come up with a solution to share Levi’s Stadium with the Niners.

  27. This is interesting:

    The Rams have incentive to get a deal done, because they are forbidden from selling certain permanent entities such as PSLs until the second team arrives, an NFL source said Wednesday.

  28. @James and Scola

    The idea of the RAIDERS leaving the Bay Area for San Antonio is simply laughable. I know MD is desperate but I can’t believe the son of Al can be stupid because moving into the San Antonio market would be a stupid move. Everyone understands that leaving Oakland for Los Angeles is about money. Al Davis left Oakland in 1982 because he was chasing the money. He came back to Oakland because he was not going to move his team to Baltimore. Today there is talk that MD could look at San Antonio now that LA is no longer available to him. It’s for show if it true. MD put his eggs in the LA basket and he was denied. Going to San Antonio further weakens him. Mark Davis’ best move, really his only move is to find an investor and get that stadium in Oakland built.

  29. As an old L.A. Rams fan, I’m thrilled to get my team back. But only the Rams and not the Raiders or Chargers. So I could understand why the NFL would offer the Chargers an option to make the deal, but I’m not sure why they would have included Raiders the option. What happens if Chargers miraculously finds a way to build a stadium in San Diego and the Raiders slouch their way down to Inglewood? What happens to not having three teams in SoCal? Is this option conditional to the Chargers moving elsewhere? Or did they include the Raiders to pin Stanos to take the Inglewood deal because if one team moving to L.A. is terrible for Charger business, imagine two teams in L.A. That’s cold, Goodell.

  30. R8RBOB: Agree 100%. If there is one message that came across loud and clear from the NFL through actions and rumors alike it’s “the other owners think Mark Davis is an incompetent dolt who can’t effectively run a franchise no matter what market we put him in and he needs to sell all or much of the team to someone with an actual business background.”

  31. So now that this is over, can we finally all now turn our attention to bringing the Rams back to Cleveland where they belong?

  32. @John Bladen: I for one will not rest until the Kenosha Maroons return to the field.

  33. To add on to what was said here, what reporters on ESPN suggested today was that the NFLs goal has always been to build 3 new stadiums and no stadiums were to be split unless its acting as a temporary home as a new “1 team only” stadium is built elsewhere (just like the Rams with USC and the Coliseum in the next 3 years). Now, the Rams will likely end up being alone in LA, and that the NFL gameplan is this:
    1. Tell the cities of San Diego and Oakland that the St Louis deal wasnt good enough (with the proof being the team leaving), so they must clearly surpass that offer to keep their teams, or else the teams move away later to somewhere else.
    2. Say that the NFL will now spend 300 million instead of 200 million to show that they are willing to remain in these markets and that if the cities pay more for a new stadium, so will the NFL to prove they are fair (of course, the NFL doesnt note that Spanos and Davis might spend less than they would have before on a new stadium to make up for this, but thats a topic for another day)
    3. The other reason for the 100 million extra is to be a “I’m sorry” to Spanos and Davis for their deal not being done, and had the Chargers/Raiders deal somehow happened, we would have definitely seen something similar happen with Kroenke.

    Also, they confirmed the owner vote was anonymous, and one of the reporters feels things might have gone differently if we had seen the vote done the classic way of hand raising, because it would have meant any owner who had said “Hey, I’m gonna do this” to any of the 3 teams would have been held to their word or had to deal with the consequences. However, because it was anonymous the owners could say to Spanos/Davis “Hey, I was one of the 12 who voted for you, and I only switched when I realized there was no chance you could succeed” and they cant say the owner is lying, just as anyone who said to Kroenke they would vote his way only to be one of those 12 can claim they were part of the 20 and the 30 vote groups all along, and that they always had his back.

    No matter what, things are going to remain ugly for the next 2-3 years as we see the NFL battle it out with SD and Oakland, and we might see the NFL and MLB go to war over who can get a new stadium in Oakland and who gets left out. This isn’t going to end anytime soon, and it will get worse.

  34. Ryan: Very logical with one problem: San Diego and Oakland are in California, not the rust belt. The public would have to approve a public financing proposal and the public is modestly opposed in Southern California and dead set against it in the Bay Area. Now maybe with some chicanery they could get San Diego politicos to come along and find a way around a vote, but in Oakland they protest because it’s cloudy and toss mayors out of office because it’s Tuesday. The idea of shaking loose more money than St Louis offered in either city is pure fantasy.

    The NFL gave up on shaking down LA after 20 years. What makes anyone think any of the other California cities would be any different?

  35. @temecula…I think the reasons that the NFL is ok with the Raiders going to LA (if the chargers don’t) are:

    1) To throw Davis a bone.
    2) To give him some leverage with Oakland.
    3) To help ensure Kronke’s gamble is a success.
    4) To pressure San Diego to get something (more) done ASAP—no more fuzzy deadlines. Although Spanos is on the clock as well.

  36. @JC: What leverage exactly did Mark Davis get? Now he’s 7 months away from the start of the next football season, has no lease and has to go back to the mayor whose last offer was “how about I give you nothing” and try to negotiate a two year lease with her when she already knows that after that he’s going to threaten to move to LA.

    If that’s leverage I’d hate to see what a bad negotiating position is.

  37. Scola, getting around votes in California is extremely easy. All you have to do is satisfy a requirement that revenue-anticipation bonds have a source of revenue, and you’re done.

    We had no vote for the Kings arena-scam in Sacramento.

  38. The reason Mark Davis said no to St Louis is because he said something to the effect that it doesn’t fit the brand. San Antonio already had conversations with Davis so the affinity is there. Add to that how football mad the state is. They spent $60 million on a high school stadium so I can see them throwing a billion at the Raiders.

  39. If I’m Mark Davis, I put a $2B price tag on my team and let someone else deal with the problem.

    Glad your dad was instrumental in the merger and making the league what it is today, but maybe it’s time to cash out.

  40. MikeM: Sacto is not the Bay Area. Not only do you have to get past the legal requirements, you have to get past the political requirements.

    The Warriors had to make concessions or pay cash to several public interest groups, environmentalists, waterfront preservation groups, UCSF and many others as part of a deal that required no public money and they are still getting sued.

    San Diego isn’t quite that extreme but it isn’t a cakewalk.

  41. @Scola….you are right. I should have tempered that Raiders leverage supposition as “possibly a microscopic grain of leverage” if the Chargers don’t bite on INglewood If that option presents itself, at least Davis would have a firm, on the table, NFL-sanctioned option to get out of Oakland, not some pie in the sky project on an former landfill.

    Doubtful Mayor Schaff changes her tune much however.

  42. Edit: Or if being in the league is THAT important to Davis… Sell 60% for $1.2B to someone who A) can help finance a stadium and B) will guarantee the Raiders stay in Oakland for x number of years.

  43. Why would anyone want to spend $1.2 billion for 60% of the Raiders and then have to put money into a stadium on top of that?

  44. JC: Except he has no lease until then. It’s great that he can move to LA in 2 years. Until then he needs a stadium and the NFL just said it has to be in Oakland. Libby Schaaf can easily say “sign a long term lease on the Coliseum or you’ll be playing in the street for the next 2 years.”

    When the A’s relocation plan fell apart and their lease was up, Oakland got them to sign for 10 years.

  45. A) Why does Stan want to spend $2.6B (+ relo fee) to move to LA? The value of the franchise doesn’t go up that much.

    B) While Oakland might be out as an option for Dave, it’s possible someone with more wealth, connections and political skill might be able to swing a deal somewhere else in the area so that the new buyer’s personal financing share is reasonble/modet.

    C) To this point in the LA shenanigans, the NFL has left the city offering it the biggest deal in favor of the plan that had the least amount of subsidy. So I have no idea what the future looks like for the NFL and it’s ability to soak taxpayers (especially in CA.). Someone with a massive ego and even more massive bankroll might want to take some of his money and spend it as necessary to be part of that really tiny club.

    D) The edit was more about “Davis doesn’t have to sell 100% if he feels he has to maintain at least a piece of ownership.” But even amongst the super rich, there might be someone willing, even if it doesn’t make sense on the surface (Cf. Kroenke, again).

  46. A) 1) Move to L.A. 2) ????? 3) Profit
    B) As inept as Davis is, right now I don’t see Oakland throwing money at anybody to keep the Raiders there, especially since if they leave it makes it easier for them to keep the A’s.
    C) Stadium subsidies have never been about making any damn sense. I doubt this will stop other owners from being able to shake down cities in the future. (And if some massive ego is willing to spend huge to join the NFL, they’ll be sure to take every last penny he’s willing to put in via expansion fees.)
    D) Yeah, I just meant if a privately funded Oakland stadium doesn’t make sense for Davis, it won’t make sense for anyone else, either.

    One takeaway that’s being overlooked in all this is: Owning an NFL team is a really cushy deal. Even playing in the Coliseum, Mark Davis would have to be far stupider than he is not to make money hand over fist.

  47. Re: B…

    I believe the reason McCombs sold the Vikings was because he couldn’t get a stadium deal done. I’m almost positive I heard him say this in person. Anyway, fast forward a few years and Wilf gets a free billion dollar monstrosity. Not saying that all the Raiders have to do is wait things out (they don’t even have a lease and their stupid owner is poo-pooing the only city that seems desperate), but sometimes things change and change rather drastically.

  48. Neil: I’m not sure how the Inglewood stadium makes sense either or how the Clippers are worth $2B.

    I do know Larry Ellison recently retired and previously tried to buy Oakland’s NBA team. The folks who beat him out promptly blew $1B on a new arena. The question I guess is “does Larry like football?”

    The idea of someone buying the Raiders and building a completely private stadium may be far-fetched but much less far-fetched than other things that recently have happened. Larry aside, the Bay Area has a lot of billionaires looking for a hobby. It only takes one.

  49. Look, in my opinion, the only way the Raiders get a new stadium in Oakland is if it is 100% privately financed (the stadium itself that is) AND if the city/county give them control of the essentially prerequisite land to build on. I don’t see either of those things happening in Oakland. Like Neil alluded to, if it doesn’t make sense for Davis and hasn’t made sense for multiple prospective financiers over the years, why would it suddenly make sense for some new wealthy benefactor to get involved? Their best bet, by far, for staying in the Bay Area is to play at Levi’s and put some money into making it a more neutral venue.

  50. If any billionaire, including Ellison, had any interest in buying the Raiders or a piece of them, it would have happened already or at least been seriously discussed amongst the relevant parties. That hasn’t happened and there’s no reason to believe it will.

    In a big picture sense, I think a ton of the Raiders’ woes stem from them having atrocious public relations skills for the past 35 years. They screwed Bay Area fans and the league when they moved to LA, they ditched the working class/gritty/blue-collar reputation and basically let the whole gang-banging NWA image take over, they screwed LA fans by moving back to Oakland, they screwed Oakland and AlCo taxpayers and the A’s with the abomination known as Mt. Davis, and they made no effort to get rid of the negative reputation they picked up in LA once they moved back to Oakland. They sowed the wind for 35 years, and now they’re reaping the whirlwind.

  51. Maybe we’re entering a new era of hyper-rich who throw their own money around like there’s no tomorrow, buying things like football teams and newspapers with no desire ever to earn it back?

    Yeah, I don’t believe it either, but it’s more plausible now than back when being a millionaire was enough to make you rich.

  52. Anonymous: I’ve never bought or sold a sports franchise but I think usually someone says “I’m looking to sell” and then buyers make offers. Kind of like a house–you don’t just go find a house you like knock on the door and tell the nice family sitting down to dinner “how much?” For whatever reason Davis hasn’t wanted to sell.

    That said, I otherwise agree with you. Davis does seem pretty inept at the business side of being a team owner. I think the NFL wants to force him to sell so someone can realign the franchise to the model the NFL wants.

    I also agree Santa Clara would make a huge amount of sense and that any owner not named Mark Davis would jump at that.

  53. Anyone know how much revenue in Santa Clara is game-based and not venue-based? I.e., bringing in a second team isn’t going to make Levi’s pay significantly more for naming rights, or the steakhouse sell a ton more steaks, or the Grateful Dead play their final shows more often. Trying to get a sense of what the revenue multiplier is for a second team.

  54. Neil: Hence why I picked the local rich guy who lives in a replica of 17th Century Japanese Palace, bought a Hawaiian island and fighter jet and spent more money than I’ll ever see trying to dominate yacht racing, a poor investment if there ever was one.

  55. “Smithers! Buy me another professional foot-ball team, this one has lost its pizzazz!”

  56. It would appear that OAK Mayor Schaff is lightening her stance just a bit:

    “Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday she is open to leasing the team land at a “favorable” price and sacrificing development opportunities to preserve parking spaces for tailgaters.

    The mayor’s statements, made one day after the NFL rejected the Raiders’ bid to move to Los Angeles, marked a sharp departure from Oakland’s Coliseum City vision of packing the 120-acre East Oakland site with new stadiums, office buildings, homes and shops.”

  57. Scola, you have to get past the political requirements in Sac, too, but in this case, the mayor is a high-profile retiree from the league the arena will primarily be used for. It required an extraordinary mayor to get this through.

    Not extraordinarily good, just extraordinary. I think he’s a sellout. He put the City general fund at risk for his former employer. Not many mayors would have done that.

  58. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Schaaf had said she’d consider discounted land before. It’s cash she won’t offer, and Davis is still about $500m short there if they want to build a new $1b stadium.

    (I still wonder whether anyone would ever consider a cheaper stadium or redo of the Coliseum. HOK must have a hell of a marketing arm.)

  59. Michael: I don’t know if you heard Red McCombs saying that very thing, but I did.

    Some were suggesting at the time that McCombs only bought the Vikings to move them to San Antonio, and when he couldn’t/didn’t get a stadium deal done determined he wouldn’t get approval for the move either.

    I’ve no idea whether he would be interested in buying the Raiders for relocation if/when the league forces Davis out, but my guess would be he’d at least look hard at it.

  60. MikeM: Correct me if I have my timeline wrong but didn’t he offer up $256M BEFORE you guys re-elected him.

    Let’s put it this way. Oakland currently has 14k units of housing in the pipeline. Her political ally, the guy who famously promised to bring 10k people to Oakland, is now governor of California. I don’t see her committing career suicide by giving away a lot of city funds and getting other politicians to team up with her in Oakland’s ranked-choice voting system.

  61. Neil: It’s not impossible that the Raiders will be the first franchise to build a new sub-50k seat stadium, essentially admitting that people prefer to watch on tv and that the last 20k seats or so cost a lot to build (whether with taxpayer or Davis dollars) but don’t proportionally increase revenue.

    This is the logical next step in the professional sports world’s move away from the working class fan toward the upscale customer. Get rid of the (relatively) cheap seats altogether.

    The question is whether the Raiders are the right franchise to do it and if so, in Oakland or elsewhere?

  62. PS: Never thought I’d see the day where a season’s ticket to a symphony or opera house costs less than an upper deck corner seat at a football game…

  63. Given that Mark Davis isn’t independently wealthy and could probably screw up a simple bank loan, probably not the right owner. But being #2 in the Bay Area isn’t a terrible market, and for a <50k-seat stadium the Raiders might actually be able to sell out their PSLs.

    During one of the many Rams interviews I did today (I can't actually remember which one), someone asked me about the long-term future of the NFL. I answered that I don't think it's going away anytime soon, but it's going to be a very different sport in 20 years once the current generation of kids who weren't allowed to play football (outside of Texas) grows up.

  64. “I answered that I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon, but it’s going to be a very different sport in 20 years once the current generation of kids who weren’t allowed to play football (outside of Texas) grows up.”

    That seems so obvious to me that maybe it’s wrong. But that’s another reason I’d tell Davis to sell. At some point someone is going to die on the field—and I give Antonio Brown a non-zero chance this weekend if he’s cleared after last week’s game—and it’s not going to kill the league, but it might be a catalyst for a very different league. I’m not saying the change happens immediately and that the league disappears but, yeah, the rate of decline in the number of kids that are allowed to play will accelerate. This could all be wrong and in 15 years the Raiders could be worth $4B but I’d take half that tomorrow, leave the NFL, never look back and live the sh*t out of the rest of my life.

  65. My fellow owners have gone mad. We’re giving up the public stadium cash game, losing Leverage Angeles and building stadiums at a loss now? I’m crying in my 100 year old scotch and listening to Elvis tonight.

    Everybody’s gone away
    Said they’re moving to L.A.
    There’s not a soul I know around
    Everybody’s leavin’ town
    Some gotta win
    Some gotta lose
    Goodtime Piggy’s got the blues.

  66. Piggy, I feel your pain (well, ok, I can imagine it… kind of).

    Make sure you turn up the Harmon Kardon you had custom built at someone else’s expense into your Bentley.

    BTW, I hope both the scotch and the Elvis album were factored into your stadium deal somewhere along the way, along with the car and chaffeur on call 24/7. Consider hopping into the team owned (and thus publicly funded) Citation or Lear Jet and getting away from it all at an NFL strategy meeting in Bali or someplace nice like that.

    Keep your chin up, man. There has to be another Cincinnati or Glendale Council full of grade III dropouts somewhere you can work progressively with in future.

  67. Thanks John. Some time on my yacht in the caribbean should do the trick. Between this L.A. thing and my kicker shanking that chip shot last Sunday I damn near had a heart attack this week. We never should have let that Walmart piker into our club.

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