Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has declared his dedication to Oakland in classic sports owner form: By talking about how tempting it is for him to move his team elsewhere.
“We are trying everything possible to get something done in Oakland right on the same exact site we’re on right now,” Davis said. “And I’d say 99 percent of my interests and energy are going towards getting something done there. That’s really the crux of it right now. People want to know about the other sites and there are always options. But we want to get something done in Oakland.”…
“We want to stay here in Oakland,” Davis said. “There’s other opportunities that would be much more lucrative for us, to be real honest. But we are really trying to get something done in Oakland. We want a stadium the fans and the team can be proud of.”
That’s all apparently an attempt to defuse the media uproar over Davis’s statement last week that Los Angeles would be a “great option” for the Raiders, though “defuse” could also here mean “use it simultaneously as leverage and as a way to paint himself as devoted to his hometown.” Unless they can’t “get something done,” in which case, screw Oakland.
Davis also reiterated that “we’re not asking for public money” for actual stadium construction, just free development rights to the site and infrastructure work to ready the site for construction and paying off the remaining debt on the Coliseum, which could come to around $670 million, or maybe $1.1 billion. But so long as those little details are taken care of, he just loves Oakland to bits, okay?
OMG OMG OMG Mark Davis said something nice about Los Angeles! He’s totally moving the Oakland Raiders there!
“Los Angeles is a great option.” Davis said.
An option for the Raiders?
“Absolutely,” he said.
And just to be clear, he added: “Sure. We loved it when we were down here.”
And San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos said something nice about it, too, so the Chargers are totally moving there too!
“We’re looking into all our possibilities, all our options,” Spanos said.
Does that mean potentially re-locating to Los Angeles?
“I’m just keeping all my options open,” Spanos said.
And Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan hasn’t said anything about Los Angeles, so they’re totally not moving there!
Of course, cynical types might point out that sports team owners say these kinds of things all the time, whether they’re actually interested in moving or just trying to put pressure on hometown elected officials to get cracking on stadium subsidies. (Or both. There’s nothing saying owners can’t work both sides of this street.) But we don’t allow cynical types around here, so let’s welcome your 2015 Los Angeles Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers! They’ll totally find a vacant lot to play in by then.
Sorry, folks — I haven’t been keeping you up on all the breaking Oakland Raiders relocation rumors. Which means you’ll be as confused as I was by this headline from CBSHouston:
Report: Oakland Raiders Not Moving To San Antonio
I’m really hoping this becomes a daily thing — tomorrow “Oakland Raiders Not Moving To Los Angeles,” the next day “Oakland Raiders Not Moving To Ouagadougou.” Because I know today’s reporters are underpaid and overworked, and that’s a really easy way to generate copy.
Okay, the actual reason behind the headline, if “reason” isn’t overstating it, is that last week Raiders owner Mark Davis had lunch with former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros, and Cisneros called the odds of the Raiders moving to Texas a “very clear 50-50 proposition.” Before the meeting had even taken place, mind you, but when a guy who was mayor 25 years ago talks, people listen, I guess.
That news bounced around the interwebs for a bit, until somebody noticed that a Bleacher Report writer said that NFL sources told him it was all just for leverage:
I’m still not convinced that Los Angeles talk isn’t similarly working leverage — given that there’s still no semblance of a viable stadium plan — but people seem to be taking it seriously, and there is at least the possibility that something will happen if owners of teams wanting to keep their options open (the Raiders, St. Louis Rams, and San Diego Chargers, mostly) get worried someone else will get dibs on L.A. first and leave them without any leverage at all. The deadline for announcing plans to move for the 2015 season is in February, so expect to at least see the rumormongering to heat up to a boil until then, even if it remains more (or at least equally) directed at shaking loose stadium cash in Oakland, St. Louis, and San Diego than on L.A.
You’re going to have to hold your breath a little bit longer to see any start at a resolution of the Oakland Raiders and A’s bipartite stadium battle: After the Raiders brought in some new investors to their Coliseum City vaportecture project, the Oakland city council last night voted to give the team a 90-day extension in which to finalize plans for a new stadium on the Oakland Coliseum site.
And that should be no problem, because as Newballpark.org points out, here’s all that Raiders owner Mark Davis has to work out to make his vision a reality:
Sign at least one tenant, preferably the Raiders to start
Engage the A’s and Warriors (even though neither team is interested)
Provide deliverables and reports that haven’t been completed yet (deal terms, financing, 2nd phase market analysis)
Bring in a master developer
Line up needed capital for stadium phase and ancillary development phases
Figure out who pays for the remaining debt at the Coliseum and Arena (if necessary)
Gather support of the JPA and Alameda County
Piece of cake! Three months is way more than enough time to win $750 million at Powerball, right?
Today (okay, actually Sunday night) in completely unsourced rumors/trial balloons being leaked by league-friendly sportswriters:
Per a league source, the current plan is that the NFL will send one or two teams back to Los Angeles within the next 12 to 24 months.
The timeline would include a team announcing its intention to move in the 2015 or 2016 offseason, with arrangements to play at the Rose Bowl or the L.A. Coliseum pending the construction of a new stadium. Possible sites for a venue in L.A. include the AEG project at L.A. Live in downtown, the land purchased recently by Rams owner Stan Kroenke at Hollywood Park, Chavez Ravine, and a couple of locations that have not yet been publicly disclosed. Ed Roski’s shovel-ready site at City of Industry is not regarded as a viable destination.
Is Mike Florio’s report true? Who the hell knows! This is someone with the league saying the “plan” is to go back to L.A. soon — does this mean that it will only happen if a stadium deal is approved first, or that this is an attempt to shake loose a stadium deal, or even that this is an attempt to shake loose stadium deals in other cities? Florio specifically mentions the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, and San Diego Chargers as relocation targets, though it’s unclear whether he got this from his anonymous NFL source or if he’s just spitballing himself.
There’s even less detail here than in the last unsourced NFL-to-L.A. report, so probably best just to move along and forget Florio ever said anything. Except as an indication that the NFL really wants you to think of L.A. as a relocation threat for your team, if you needed reminding.
This is news? Yeah, I guess this is news:
It was a rare sight indeed — A’s co-owner Lew Wolff, Raiders owner Mark Davis and their advisers in the same room with members of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, talking about building separate stadiums on the Coliseum site.
We don’t know what they talked about, or even that they talked directly at all. But it’s better than Wolff and Davis just firing public shots at each other about who will get control over the Oakland Coliseum land. Unless, that is, they start talking to each other about how to team up to get Oakland to cough up $750 million for new stadiums, which would be kinda bad.
Is there a term for news that isn’t doesn’t actually leave you better informed about anything? Maybe we could name it after Chuck Todd.
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis confirms there’s no deal in place for a new stadium, no matter what Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has proposed:
Wasn’t me, that’s all I know.
I’m on the road (well, the train) today, so no news updates, but fortunately it looks like a slow news day so far. The big items:
Finally, I have my debut article going up today at The Cauldron, on the Buffalo Bills‘ demands for a new stadium right after getting $200 million in state subsidies for renovations to their old one, and the psychology of “need.” The direct URL wasn’t available as I left the house, but head to the main page and you should find it. Enjoy! Or maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word…
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has a stadium offer ready for the Raiders, and it’s a doozy: The city would give Raiders owner Mark Davis free rights to the Oakland Coliseum property, as well as city-funded infrastructure upgrades, plus agree to pay off $120 million in remaining debt on the Coliseum’s last round of renovations. In exchange, Davis would build his own damn stadium.
Much of the report by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross is devoted to where Oakland would get that $120 million — leading Quan spokesperson Sean Maher (nope, not that one) to hilariously reply, “That’s a great question that we will probably not say anything about.” But the far bigger issue here could be the land and infrastructure gifts: SFGate has previously estimated the needed infrastructure costs at $150 million, and if Quan’s plan includes development rights to all 800 acres that were previously discussed, that could be a value of … let’s see, a piece of undeveloped waterfront property recently went for about $500 an acre (before remediation costs, which presumably here would be paid by the city), so let’s call it possibly $400 million, more or less?
Anyway, this is just a proposal, and one that neither Davis nor the Oakland city council has yet weighed in on. But if it’s setting the boundaries of debate, man, Oakland is looking at getting hosed. At worst, somebody should call A’s owner Lew Wolff to see if he’d be willing to beat that bid for the land — he has to have a Sacagawea to spare, no?
So Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff thought he was clever with that “we’re only going to sign a long-term lease under our conditions, or else just we’ll go play in the street” threat? Well, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis knows how to play that game, too:
Davis said he hasn’t asked for a one-year extension on the Raiders’ lease at O.co Coliseum – which expires at the end of next season – and has no plans to do so.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently brought up the idea of the Raiders renting the field at the 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara, but Davis is opposed to that idea and seems to be looking for other places to play in 2015.
Now, it’s important to remember that absolutely everything in Oakland right now has to be viewed in terms of the long game of which team (if either) will get control of the Oakland Coliseum site, both for stadium-building purposes and for other-development-building purposes. Looked at in that light, this tells us absolutely nothing: If Davis genuinely has a secret plan to move the team elsewhere, sure, this is exactly how he would be behaving. And if Davis doesn’t want to move, but just wants leverage to force Oakland to make him top dog in any Coliseum site plans, this is also exactly how he would be behaving.
In fact, it’s an absolutely typical gambit: Everyone from the Florida Marlins to the New York Yankees has warned that if they didn’t get what they wanted, their lease would expire and they’d be left homeless — and in every case, when push came to shove, a short-term extension was agreed upon where needed, because it’s not really like Oakland would say to the Raiders, “No, you can’t play in the Coliseum” or Davis would say “We’ll just sleep on our friend’s sofa,” would they?
Still, what with all the chatter about San Antonio wanting a team and Magic Johnson wanting L.A. to have a team, this is bound to kick up lots of “Where will the Raiders play in 2015?” headlines. Which is just what you want when going into lease talks with local elected officials, so nicely played, Mr. Davis.