It’s hard to get all the details thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle’s new overly aggressive paywall, but former NFL players Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete are trying to spearhead an attempt to get a group of African-American “investors” to help build a new Raiders stadium in Oakland, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell thinks this is a great idea:
In recent weeks, ex-49er Lott and Peete, both of whom played briefly for the Raiders, have met with team executives and Oakland officials to brief them on their proposal to be master developers of the 120-acre Coliseum site.
(A bit more aggregated here, for those paywalled.)
The problem with the idea of bringing in private investors to bail out the $400-million-ish gap in Raiders stadium funding in Oakland is the same as when developer Floyd Kephart tried it: For it to be an “investment,” there has to be revenue to repay the money the private investors put up, and there wouldn’t be — at least, not any money that Raiders owner Mark Davis wouldn’t already be counting on for his own share. It’s not surprising that Goodell is nodding approvingly toward this Lott/Peete proposal given that it checks off two of the league’s favorite lip-service boxes (racial integration at the executive level, and keeping teams in their current markets), but unless somebody here has figured out how to generate money out of thin air, I wouldn’t get too excited about it.
Davis, meanwhile, is keeping his eyes on the prize:
“The $750 million is the bottom line on that,” Davis said at the Silverton [in Las Vegas on Friday]. “Then whatever (extra) private money is needed we will come up with it. If they can come up with the public money of that nature, then we will make sure we get a stadium built here that everybody will be proud of; it’ll be world class.”
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Unless you have some plan that involves moving to a huge market and reaping unprecedented new revenues from PSLs or development rights or something (see: Los Angeles Rams), you’d be crazy to try to make money off a new stadium while paying for it yourself. If even Mark Davis understands this, hopefully news reporters can wrap their brain around it as well.
UPDATE: I’ve finally found the non-paywalled version of the Matier & Ross story (thanks, commenter John Wyatt!), and here’s the key bit:
One source involved in the talks tells us the Raiders may be willing to work with the Lott group, assuming it can come up with the other $400 million needed to fill out the stadium financing.
“The Lott group’s first and foremost interest is owning a portion of the team and keeping it in Oakland,” said the source, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.
So Davis wants Lott’s group to come up with $400 million, and Lott’s group wants in exchange to get a share of a franchise that is currently worth $1.4 billion … I guess maybe it’s possible, but it doesn’t sound like Davis wants to sell part of the team to raise the $400 million, but rather wants someone to just give him $400 million. (Or better, $750 million.) Worth watching, but mostly in the same way that perpetual motion machines are.