Raiders owe Oakland $800k in back parking fees, could be evicted in 2019 (or sooner)

Well, now, this is interesting:

The Oakland Raiders owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in parking revenue to the Coliseum stadium authority, which puts them in default on their lease and could jeopardize the team’s ability to keep playing at the Coliseum…

An audit by the authority discovered the Raiders have been making only minimum payments since at least 2013, and owe an estimated $25,000 more per game since then, which could total more than $800,000.

The team has exercised its option to play in Oakland for the 2017 season while their new stadium is being built in Las Vegas. But under the terms of their agreement, if they’re in default and do not make good on the money they owe, that option can be voided.

What’s significant isn’t the $800,000 in missed payments — that’s chump change in the sports industry — but the fact that it puts the Raiders in default of their lease. As we’ve covered here previously, the county-owned Coliseum Authority loses about $1 million a year hosting the Raiders, and county officials would love to see the team leave ASAP, but are hamstrung by two one-year lease extension options that it foolishly handed to Raiders owner Mark Davis last year in hopes it might entice him to stay put. (Note to elected officials everywhere: Giving rich people things for free does not induce them to do nice things back.) If the authority can void that lease on the grounds of missing parking payments, though, then suddenly it can drive a hard bargain with Davis if he wants to stay put until his new Las Vegas stadium is ready — say, by demanding that he help repay the $80 million in public debt that remains on bonds for the Coliseum’s renovation for the Raiders back in the ’90s.

Sadly, authority board members said that they’ll let the Raiders stay put through 2018 so long as Davis makes his back payments, which seems like a missed opportunity. (Though I should say I haven’t actually read the lease language, so I’m not sure how easy it would be to declare the Raiders in default if Davis came up with the $800,000.) It’s hard to see the Coliseum Authority agreeing to let the Raiders play in Oakland in 2019, though — unless, maybe, they came up with $80 million in rent? We can dream, anyway.

39 comments on “Raiders owe Oakland $800k in back parking fees, could be evicted in 2019 (or sooner)

  1. The Raiders will absolutely be playing in Oakland in 2019. There is no chance that the Coliseum Authority is giving up millions in concession and parking revenues just to prove a point.

    • Follow the link above, Ben: the Coliseum Authority earns $7m a year in concessions, parking, etc., vs. $8m a year in Raiders-related costs. That’s why I wrote that they’re losing $1m for every year they host the Raiders.

      • I am well aware of that particular article of fake news. Over here in the real world, we are aware that the vast majority of “Raiders-related costs” are wages to low/middle income workers and that the Authority is not going to kill those jobs a year early just to prove a point.

        • So let me make sure I have this right, Ben: You are convinced that you have better information about the finances of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority than the authority does?

          • Neil, fake news is all about narrative. Fake news means taking real data and spinning a fake narrative out of it.

            As an example, let’s take the right-wing version of Trump/Russia Collusion: birtherism. Birthers took real information about Barack Obama’s mother and spun it into a nutty conspiracy about him being born in Kenya, just as Progressive Birthers are taking real information about hackers who are sympathetic to Russia and spinning it into a new nutty conspiracy.

            In the case of the Raiders stadium lease, we know that the Authority gets lots of revenue from concessions & parking and we know that the Authority pays a lot of low/middle income wages to people who work before, during & after Raiders games.

            Does the Authority pay out more than it takes in? It’s a never-ending debate. Do you include salaries for Authority office staff? Do you include building maintenance — which would have to be done with or without the Raiders present — as an expense?

            Even if we stipulate that the Authority is paying out $1 million more per year than it takes in, this is still fake news. The authors of the fake news are ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the $8 million in “Raiders-related expenses” are wages. The Authority is not going to sabotage millions in low/middle income wages when it can get the Raiders to make up any gap in 2019. That’s the part that I’m convinced of.

          • Ben–

            First I would check to see if the Stadium Authority contracts out concessions and parking–which would keep the costs off the books.

            Second, your premise would make more sense if the As didn’t play in the stadium. I doubt the Raiders add much to payroll.

            Third, you know nothing about Russia, or foreign policy in general.

          • So you’re admitting that ,no, you in fact do not have any idea what you’re talking about and that you’re making things up in direct opposition to what the relevant parties say themselves.

          • GDub,

            I guess the guy who served us delicious Pastrami sandwiches at the last Raiders game I went to was a figment of my imagination.

        • Ben, you make a point about them giving up 8 million in salaries for 1 million in savings. But you do not know what fake news is; fake news is fake facts- like Obama might be born somewhere other than the birth announcement in a Honolulu paper, or 3 million voted illlegally, or Trump tower was wire tapped by Obama. Having a different spin on real facts, or disputing the facts- like they claim 8 million in Raider related funds but you you think much of that will be there to manage the infrustructure regardless- is different.

          • ToTom,

            That was the original definition of fake news, just as the original definition of “faggot” was a group of thin sticks bound together, typically to be used for kindling.

          • Ben, I never heard the term until this past election, but Fake news stories are made up news stories, not analysis you or I disagree with.

        • I’m amused that somebody thinks “fake news” is anything more than the result of a con man’s verbal diarrhea.

  2. It’s a beautiful thought (that the ’97 voyager might be making that permanent road trip sooner rather than later), but in practice there will almost certainly be dispute resolution language written into the lease (which may or may not include actual arbitration to determine who is lying, and then tut-tut them and ask them nicely to not do so again). Some third party will be appointed to review the matter and advise as to whether the Raiders are actually in breach (at which point they will be given a short period of time to pay up) or whether they are withholding payment due for a legitimate reason (in which case that reason needs to be sorted out).

    Of course, it is also possible that the coliseum authority has been going through this process since 2013… so maybe they are closer to evicting the Raiders than we can know. So it’s still a beautiful thought, I guess.

    Question though: Are the Raiders fully off the hook for the Mt. Davis debt if they leave now? I remember discussion about the original lease language being “weak”, but I can’t recall exactly what the terms were (unsold seats purchased by city by default???). Any changes to that language in the “new” one year leases?

  3. Per Neil’s link, the City/County are still on the hook for Mt. Davis. That article states $80M. I thought the figure was $90M.

    As for this new parking kerfuffle, the Raider’s apparently have put money into an escrow account. How much is not known:

    “Officials said the Raiders have set aside money in an escrow account while the team and the stadium authority resolve the issue. If unresolved, it will go to arbitration.”

  4. Reading the blogs and FB posts around here, I get the sense that the vast majority of Raider Nation has moved on. They almost seem to want the team to leave ASAP, as in if they can arrange to be on the next plane, that’d be ideal.

    And Mark Davis now appears to regret the decision. The reaction to that was, “Too late; go now, please.” He was expecting Raider Nation to clog Alameda County with protests, and appears to have received quite a different response.

    I really do applaud the fans for this. They recognize that a bigger fool was found, and seem happy that this fool was not them.

    • Yup, those Raiders fans sure have moved on…

      • Oh, that stadium never really filled up. I’m glad they have a web page to get on the waiting list, but you can walk up to literally any game.

        Fill out the form. I bet you’d get a callback within an hour.

        I did a little snooping around our own arena in Sacramento. They have scheduled 24 public events at Golden 1 Center between now and October 25. I was stunned to see how few events will be there. If this keeps up, this will turn into the largest arena failure in North American history. I obviously hope this doesn’t happen, but as of now, they have NO EVENTS scheduled for the month of September.

        And tomorrow’s event? Joel Osteen. Yuck.

        They are on pace to have well under 100 events per year, which is far more dire than even my pessimistic expectations. When Joel Osteen is one of your big events, that’s trouble.

        • Prior to last season, I’d agree. The Raiders were hardly a hot ticket.

          Last season, the Raiders were a hot ticket. They sold out the season within a few days of single-game tickets going on sale and they never had to release extra blocks of tickets, a la the Rams. They’ll continue to be hot as long as they win.

          Lack of events at Downtown Plaza (which would have been such a cool arena name, if Kings ownership had even a little bit of vision) should not be a surprise. The arena was all about keeping the Kings. It also has a very NBA-centric design. It has to be among the worst-designed arenas of all time for concerts and other non-NBA events that arenas typically host.

          • Great–they had one good year of ticket sales. What do fake news ticket stats tell us….ooh.

          • With the tarp on, attendance figures show the Raiders at 80-85% capacity. Last year, they approached 90%, but still plenty of tickets available.

            For the 2017 season, they have the benefit of playing the Cowboys, Giants and Patriots at home — 3 teams with large contingencies of traveling fans.

          • Raiders vs Patriots in Mexico City. That’s WWE level.

            I disagree with MarkM about Joel Osteen. He’s a great guy doing a great service to humanity. If you just think good thoughts about yourself and pray, everything will go great for you after that. That flesh-eating disease that has already taken part of your face? Gone.

        • And, at the same time, the kings have claimed to have 185 events scheduled through June and over 200 events through October (not including meetings and corporate events) with 1 million visitors.

          • RA, I’m glad you pointed out that article. It’s hilarious.


            I still count 24 events between now and October 25. I’d also point out that things like graduation ceremonies simply move events across town. I count them as zero events. What they need to do is to count events where the City makes money.

            We now have this column asking for the return of the Monarchs. I mean, sure, if they want to have 25 events that will average under 7,000 attendees, go for it. With that attendance, the city’s premium parking rates don’t go into effect; they hit that threshold at events with 15,500 or more attendees. I’ve never seen 15,500 people at a Monarchs game — and yeah, we had season tickets (we were a rarity).


  5. Do you think the Coliseum Authority can make the Raiders tear down Mt Davis as part of their separation negotiation, so at least the Athletics can have their outfield back?

    • Extremely unlikely. In order to lure the Raiders back from LA, the City/County allowed themselves to be on the hook for the cost of stadium upgrades.

  6. Mark Davis pay the stadium authority back pay?Ha.Ironic though that they found the Raiders owe some money though.Yes up until last year they Raiders had trouble even selling out with Mt.Davis tarped over.They had a few games between 32,00-42,00 fans.I bet Davis disputes the actual amount of money that’s due based on low attendance up until 2016.Watch.He wants something for nothing,just like father and when he doesn’t get his way he moves.Prediction:After this year in Oakland if the Stadium authority kicks them out the Raiders go to Levi’s stadium for 1-2 years.I personally think the Vegas stadium option will fall through due to the cost,bank financing and actuality of how much this boondoggle will cost.

    • In addition to the small attendance numbers, if memory serves, when there was a feed of a Raiders game here, it seemed as though there were few shots of the crowd. And when there were those, gee…it looked like Mt. Davis was empty. Like LGA is on Thanksgiving Day…with few flights.

      For the record, when the Raiders did have a ‘sellout’, this was based on the ‘Jedi Mind Trick’, of not including the seats that were covered. If this sounds familiar, this is what the Jaguars have done for years. In effect, the sellout is NOT a sellout in the least. And the local affiliate does not have to buy the rest of the tickets, to insure (amendments to the blackout rule to the contrary) a local broadcast.

      The Raiders will go through this again as lame ducks. And if the animosity keeps growing, expect being able to find mid-season tickets easier to get, than a sub-sub prime loan.

  7. One can only hope the city and county can stick it to the Raiders so they leave early. While I applaud the city for holding to their guns and not providing a complete public subsidy for a new stadium (they would have paid the infrastructure), I also blame them for not revealing their plan to keeping the team in town until the 12th hour. On the flip side, I totally blame Davis for not working with the city and county in good faith. He clearly wanted out of town and he got his wish. He consistently lied through his teeth about a desire to stay while his actions toward somewhere else proved otherwise.

    Las Vegas beware, the Raiders will screw you too. Give it time and losses (which will come both on the field and in the stands) once the newness wears off and the Raiders debt mounts. This will be an epic fail for the team. The visiting fans will gain the best home away from home field in the NFL for years to come until the Raiders decide to come back Oakland in 2037 – LOL.

  8. Many of us here in the East Bay remember the first time the Davis family abandoned Oakland. It was shocking then, this time around less so.

    And now Mark Davis is blaming the A’s for his futile efforts with Oakland:

    • You know when they left for Los Angeles the Raiders left the 49ers the entire Bay Area and the 49ers capitalised on that and to this day still do.By the time the Raiders returned in 95 it was clearly 49ers territory and seeing the Raiders have only had 4 winning seasons & 5 8-8 seasons since returning to Oakland the fan support is not what it once was.

    • Dean, the gut feeling non-Oakland residents have is that Oakland and area is very much moving up market. Do you think this plays in to the Raiders lukewarm support (IE: demographics moving away from football)?

        • Absolutely John. Great point. Living in Oakland (Rockridge) and seeing the incredible growth has, I believe, changed Oakland including its love-affair with the Raiders.

  9. Mr. deMause: surely you know after covering this subject for years that when it comes to dealing with cities and stadium “authorities”, us NFL owners do the squeezing and not the other way around. Oakland will be no different.

    Still I’m saddened that you so frequently publish posts like the above wherein you “dream” of the NFL being somehow punished. Tsk tsk! What did us genteel Club of 32er’s ever do to you to make you so resentful of us!?

    I must send you a bottle of 100 year old cognac next holiday season as a peace offering. Till then, your pal Piggy will be around from time to time to try to console you in the aftermath of each new, breathtaking NFL billionaire victory over whatever municipality we are hooking and landing like so many codfish. Toodles!

    • Cities don’t beat the NFL, we beat them. Over and over as history has shown.