Two stadiums on Oakland Coliseum site wouldn’t leave much room for actual money-making development

If you want to see why many folks are skeptical about the Oakland A’s and Oakland Raiders both being able to build stadiums as part of a redevelopment of the current Coliseum site, check out these images, both courtesy of Newballpark.org. First, the original, now-discarded “Coliseum City” plan, which would have covered 800 acres on and around the current stadium site:

And now the latest 120-acre plan:

Notice what’s missing there? The vast majority of the housing development, aka “the stuff that you can actually make money on in the Bay Area.” As Newballpark.org’s Marine Layer notes, there’s still room for two stadiums on the smaller site, but you have to ask yourself: “If capital wasn’t biting at 800 acres and two stadia, why would they bite at 120 acres and two stadia?”

What about 120 acres and one stadium? That’s slightly more feasible, but we still need to see A’s owner Lew Wolff’s and Raiders owner Mark Davis’s actual financial plans for those — if it’s “120 acres of rent-free land and property tax exemptions and one stadium,” that’s not so hot a deal for Oakland. New city mayor Libby Schaaf has asked the two team owners for competing bids, anyway, so hopefully soon we can see if either is less craptacular than the other.

Warriors: We need a new $1B arena because we don’t like the restaurant manager at the old one

The San Francisco Business Times has a report out on the pressing matter of “Why the Raiders, A’s and Warriors want new homes” (verbatim headline), and the answer is: They all need to tear down their old venues and build entirely new ones at a cost of billions of dollars because they don’t like the concessionaires, duh!

Consider the recently opened BMW Club at Oracle Arena. BMW is a Warriors sponsor, but the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority contracts arena operations to Anschutz Entertainment Group. AEG, in turn, contracts arena restaurant management to Levy Restaurants.

“It’s a little bit of a challenge” to make customer service part of the overall game experience when food service and stadium operations aren’t in the Warriors’ control, team President and COO Rick Welts said.

Here’s a crazy idea: If your main complaint is the guys the county hired to run the arena operations, why don’t you offer to buy the arena operations rights from the county, and then pick your own operator? Sure, it might cost you something, but less than the billion dollars it will cost for a whole new building.

The real answer, of course, is that this is about the 74th most important reason for these teams wanting out of their old stadiums, but it’s what the Warriors president told the Business Times, so it’s what they’re going to report, dammit. Remember, kids: Friends don’t let friends read news stories that only include sports team execs and stadium developers as sources!

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.

 

 

Hey, everybody, let’s put on a Raiders stadium-raising!

So the Oakland Raiders may not be moving anywhere, and owner Mark Davis may be stuck trying to negotiate a one-year lease with Oakland so that he can have somewhere to play in 2015 but still threaten to move in 2016. But in the spirit of the season, people are trying to help Davis with his problem:

Neither of these is a remotely fleshed out idea, but then, neither is building a billion-dollar stadium with no idea of how to pay for it. So here’s an idea: If you want to do something nice for one of everybody’s least favorite NFL owners this season, send him an idea for how to get the new stadium he wants without having to break anybody’s budget. Maybe something he can build with cinnamon sticks and a hot glue gun. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Happy Saturnalia, everybody!

Sad, deluded San Antonio people still think the Raiders are moving there

Now that the NFL has apparently officially announced that no teams will move to Los Angeles in 2015, the only remaining unfounded relocation rumor is Oakland Raiders-to-San Antonio. So naturally, San Antonio (unelected) officials are doubling down on that angle, as is San Antonio Business Journal reporter/project coordinator (project coordinator?) W. Scott Bailey:

I reached out to San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez, who told me, “We feel we are still in the hunt.” …

Former mayor Henry Cisneros, who initiated relocation talks between San Antonio leaders and the Raiders, told me in recent days, “I know for a fact that we have moved to a different place. We have converted ourselves into a real option, where the Raiders know they can make more money than they are making now in Oakland by moving to San Antonio.”

That seems dubious at best, given that San Antonio’s Alamodome is 21 years old (which is “decrepit” in NFL years), that there’s no plan for a new or refurbished stadium, and that the San Antonio Spurs are even threatening to throw roadblocks in front of any NFL move to their city.

But talk like Cisneros’s serves a very important role for Raiders owner Mark Davis, who is currently trying to get a one-year lease extension at the Oakland Coliseum, while Oakland officials want to get him to sign a multi-year deal. Picture this scene at the negotiating table:

Coliseum official: We have a lovely ten-year extension here for you to sign.

Davis: Screw you, I’m not signing nothing longer than one year.

Coliseum official: And where exactly are you going to play this year? Los Angeles?

Davis: [Pulls out copy of San Antonio Business Journal, throws it on table.]

Coliseum official: In 20,000 pounds of Goya kidney beans?

Davis: No, no, the other article!

Coliseum official: Oh. [pause] You do know that Henry Cisneros hasn’t actually been mayor of San Antonio since 1989, right?

This could be a while.

 

Nobody’s moving to L.A., so now can we talk about that Raiders lease extension?

This week in “Which NFL teams are moving to L.A. in 2015?” rumors, we have … nobody!

Per “sources,” yes, but Schefter is reporting it as fact, and the NFL isn’t denying it, so this certainly has the whiff at least of official leak. And the San Diego Chargers did already announce that they’re staying put for 2015, which they likely wouldn’t have done if there were any chance of teams going to L.A., and besides there’s just about zero chance of an L.A. stadium deal getting done in time for a relocation announcement by February. So, really, I’m confident we can stick a fork in this for now, and stop with all the rumor-mongering about who’s headed to—

Fox Sports 1 Insider Jay Glazer reports the NFL is waiting to get better offers for stadium sites around Los Angeles, with St. Louis Rams clear front-runner to come to city.

Yo! Jay! Stand down, already!

In related news, the Oakland Raiders are apparently set to announce a one-year extension of their lease at the Oakland Coliseum, which is a bit weird, as I’m pretty sure that the Coliseum Authority would have to sign off on that as well — and would be perfectly within their rights to tell Mark Davis to take his team and go play in the street if he doesn’t agree to a multiyear extension. This one is worth watching closely, or would be if everyone could stop playing “Who’s moving to the imaginary L.A. stadium first?”

Chargers staying in San Diego another year, Raiders still rumored to be moving everywhere and its sister

Today in people who used to be famous talking about where the Oakland Raiders might move, it’s former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros, who says that the team could be taking his city seriously as — hey, wait a minute! This is a repeat!

In newsier NFL maybe-relocation news, the San Diego Chargers owners have announced that they’re not opting out of their lease for 2015, which means they’re not moving to Los Angeles to play in a stadium that hasn’t even been planned yet, either. The Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer takes this as a sign that no NFL teams are moving to L.A. next year, on the theory that if somebody were, then the Chargers would want in too to avoid being left stuck in San Diego with an old stadium and two other teams on their doorstep. I’d stick with the theory that nobody’s moving to L.A. because there’s nowhere to play there that’s any better than teams’ old stadium back home, though.

Raiders, Rams continuing to move everywhere or nowhere, according to wild-ass guesses

Today in wild speculation about which NFL teams might move where:

A different former Oakland Raiders player says that the team could maybe possibly move, though this one has San Antonio as their maybe possibly destination!

“I think they should stay in Oakland if at all possible and I know that’s what the team is trying to do,” [Tim] Brown said on Friday’s PFT Live. “They’re trying to work out a deal to stay there, but it’s tough because the city of Oakland doesn’t have the funds to get it done and it seems like to everybody that really L.A. is trying to woo any team. . . .

“I’ll tell you, the wild card here, I believe, is San Antonio. I know people don’t want to hear that, but from what I’m hearing the package that San Antonio put on the table was far better than any package they could have ever imagined. So financially the best thing for the team may be to go to San Antonio.”

NFL vice president for stadium grubbing Eric Grubman told owners that multiple teams are interested in moving to Los Angeles, possibly next year, possibly not! According to “sources”!

Eric Grubman, the NFL executive overseeing the LA initiative for the league, spoke during the meeting and acknowledged that there were multiple teams with the intent of moving to Los Angeles as soon as next season, and explained that there remained multiple options for when and where those teams might relocate within the LA region, sources said.

And our old pal Ken Belson of the New York Times says that nobody’s moving to L.A. next year, because there won’t be a stadium deal by then!

Discussions with league officials and owners on the sidelines of the meeting confirmed that the prospect of an N.F.L. team’s playing in 2015 in Los Angeles — which has not had a team for two decades — was increasingly unlikely. … In a game of cat and mouse, no one appears willing to build a stadium until a team has committed to moving.

Add it all up, and you get that nobody really knows anything, though it’s clear that the NFL really wants to heat up the threat of teams moving to L.A. (duh) and getting a stadium built in L.A. will be tough (double duh). Belson also reports that the threat seems to be working to shake down at least one other city for stadium plans, with St. Louis Sports Commission chair Dave Peacock having shared preliminary ideas for a new Rams stadium at one of several sites with Grubman, though “preliminary” apparently doesn’t here mean “with any idea of how to pay for it.”

Stay tuned here for more non-news as it doesn’t happen!

Raiders-to-LA “legitimate” possibility, says NFL reporter, citing no one at all

Who’s spreading rumors about the Oakland Raiders moving to Los Angeles today? Why, it’s NFL.com reporter (and Pez collector) Ian Rapoport, and he says it on Twitter so it must be true:

Okay, then! Somebody somewhere said something that made an NFL reporter “realize” that the Raiders might move to L.A.! Either we’re getting a rare glimpse behind the scenes of negotiations, or somebody is using sports reporters to float rumors that may or may not be true. Definitely one of those two!

Sure would be nice for someone to actually do some reporting on whether anyone can actually afford to build a new stadium in L.A., which would seem to be a prerequisite of anyone moving there. And speaking of stadium funding and Twitter, this doesn’t seem to be a good sign at all for L.A. stadium advocates:

Though of course if an L.A. team can sell the PSLs before fans realize they’re not worth what they’re paying for them, then it’s the fans’ problem, not the team’s. Sure do hope no NFL fans in L.A. can read Twitter.

Report: AEG interviewing PR firms for L.A. NFL team, Raiders may be out because their fans don’t own poodles

Okay! After a week of former NFL players and former movie executives and more former NFL players speculating wildly on whether the Oakland Raiders will or should move to Los Angeles, we finally have some actual sorta-kinda-almost news about a possible L.A. relocation. Jeanne Zelasko of KFWB-AM in Los Angeles says that AEG, which has been trying for years to pretend that it’s building an NFL stadium in L.A., is now looking to hire PR specialists to handle a team moving there next year, according to people who’ve interviewed for the job:

Over the last week to ten days, AEG has been interviewing people for a public relations gig to handle an NFL team coming to L.A. And these conversations they’re having with people, these interviews they’re having with people, they’re talking about a startup situation February 15th of 2015.

Okay, so this still isn’t much of news: Basically, a company that’s already stated its interest in bringing a team to L.A. may or may not be looking to hire someone to oversee media around getting a team next spring, if one materializes during the annual NFL relocation-announcement window. But it’s another small data point toward the argument that some teams, likely the Raiders and St. Louis Rams, may be considering at least ramping up a threat to move in February, whether or not they go through with it.Zelasko later added (wait past her long discussion of naps) that what’s going on behind the scenes is that the NFL is now at least actively looking to hear more from AEG on how their stadium plan would work, which is more than they’ve done in the past. She also said that one “stumbling block” could be that the L.A. Coliseum and Rose Bowl have balked at hosting the Raiders temporarily, because the image of a typical Raiders fan is “a thug – not a clean-cut mom and dad, two kids, and a poodle,” and so the league might want to force Mark Davis to sell the team before okaying a move to L.A. Leaving aside the racial subtext here: a poodle? There are NFL teams whose fans are poodles? Also, is there something about Mark Davis that means he doesn’t know how to market football to poodles? Is “poodles” going to be the new code word for white folk who aren’t threatening, at least to other white folk? Can it be, please?