By now everyone knows how the Oakland Raiders battle with the City of Oakland on the building of a new stadium is going. With O.co being massively out of date, owner Mark Davis requested city funds for a modest stadium with around 50, 000 seats making it the smallest venue in the NFL. Still despite his flexibility the City of Oakland won’t budge, meaning that Davis has had to entertain other options as the long dragged out saga continues.
With San Francisco opening a new stadium in Santa Clara in the very near future, the topic of sharing a stadium with the 49ers has been brought up as a potential option for Oakland to stay in the Bay Area while getting temporary new digs to get out of O.co. In an interview with Tim Kawakami of Bay Area News Group Davis made it clear that to him sharing with their Bay Area rivals is out of the discussion.
Davis also discussed a variety of topics regarding the Raiders stadium search, mentioning that Los Angeles and the Berkley area specifically as options for Oakland, but says at the moment that there is no plan as to what the Raiders will do when their stadium lease goes up after this season.
At the same time of saying that Los Angeles and other locales have been discussed it is promising that Davis said there is a “very good possibility” that the Raiders will be at the Coliseum next season. Leading to it being likely that the Davis family is willing to wait it out and see if the City of Oakland is going to change their minds and get things done.
Davis and his mother recently bought out a minority owner to raise their stake above 50%, something Davis opted to not discuss with Tim Kawakami, but it is a sign that the Raiders stadium battle with the City of Oakland is going to get more public than ever. Mark Davis is being brutally honest and you have to respect that.
Here is the transcript of Kawakami’s interview with Mark Davis:
-Q: You think you’ll be playing back here at the Coliseum next year?
-DAVIS: It’s a very good possibility.
-Q: Have you started negotiating a lease extension?
-DAVIS: You mean for after this season? No, we’re still talking. We’re talking and trying to get something done long-term.
-Q: You’ve said you don’t like playing on the dirt here. Would you want some things changed before entering another agreement?
-DAVIS: No, I don’t think you can change the dirt with the A’s. That’s just something that we have to live with.
That’s a deal that we made. When we moved back here, we knew we were going to play on it. So we can’t complain about it.
It’s not optimal, but it’s something that we have to deal with.
-Q: Is sharing the Santa Clara stadium out of the question now?
-DAVIS: For me, I would say it probably is.
-Q: At any time? Short-term and long-term?
-DAVIS: That’s a long conversation I’d have with you at another time. I don’t think it’s an answer of a “yes” or a “no.”
-Q: So it’s most likely you’re playing here in Oakland next year, by extending it out a little bit again?
-DAVIS: No, what I would like to do is build one right here and start breaking ground tomorrow. (Laughs.) That’s what I want to do.
-Q: Easy. No problem.
-Q: So would you need to start talking about this with the Coliseum and city folks pretty soon? Don’t you need an extension, at the least, as soon as possible?
-DAVIS: Listen, we’re talking with the city and the county all the time. And we have another meeting coming up shortly. And we’ll see where that goes.
I don’t like to talk about what we’re going to do or not going to do. It’s what we can do and what’s going to happen.
-Q: Last time you did a three-year extension.
-DAVIS: That doesn’t seem to be something that I want to do. I don’t see where that does any good.
If you go back and look at when we did the three-year extension last time, and you look at the quotes from the politicians and the people around, they said, ‘Great, now we’ve got an opportunity to work on a long-term deal with the Raiders.’
If we do it again, then it’s, ‘Great, now we’ve got a long time to work on a long-term deal with the Raiders.’ I think we’ve got to get a little more urgency about it.
-Q: So you want a deal now that would lead into the rebuilding of the Coliseum, sounds like.
-DAVIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
-Q: Tie the two things together–the extension and a new stadium deal.
-Q: Could you go somewhere else in the East Bay temporarily? Maybe Cal?
-DAVIS: Sure. I mean, if they’d want us. We’ve done it before. There’s some… things about Berkeley that wouldn’t be optimal–the parking and all of that stuff is always tough.
But at the same time, it’s if (there’s a need to play elsewhere for a while) for a new stadium… and we like Berkeley. I think what they’ve done with the new stadium is great.
-Q: Wouldn’t the city of Berkeley have to be involved?
-DAVIS: I’m not sure.
-Q: Is LA on your mind as a possible permanent site?
-DAVIS: Always. An opportunity for us to get a new stadium is always on my mind. Oakland is first, OK? That’s all I can say.
-Q: And you need to know ASAP.
-Q: You’ve said all this before, for years.
-DAVIS: I’ve been pretty wide-open in my thoughts on the process. One thing I’ve found out is if you’re honest, tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said last time.
-Q: If you’re in this stadium, like it is, for another five years, would that be a frustrating thing for you?
-DAVIS: I don’t see how that could happen. But yeah, it obviously would be frustrating. It just doesn’t make sense, for anybody.
-Q: How do you think the tarping of all those sections is going to work for you?
-DAVIS: I think the tarps help. What I was saying is when we played here prior to leaving in ’82, it was about a 53,000-seat stadium. And we had 53,000 season-ticket-holders, and we were doing pretty damn good.
Then when we came back, it was a 65,000-seat stadium, with I don’t know how many boxes. Instead of building up to that capacity, once you have one empty seat, you might as well have 500 empty seats or 5,000 empty seats.
It’s supply and demand. That’s what it’s gotta be.
The fans here at the greatest. There’s no question about it. That’s the one thing that makes me keep trying to get something done here. There’s nothing like ‘em.
-Q: Did you buy out another limited partner recently?
-DAVIS: (Puts his hand over his mouth and smiles.)
-Q: No comment on that?
-DAVIS: I won’t comment on any of those kinds of things right now.
-Q: How do you feel about your team going into this season?
-DAVIS: It’s something to watch. I don’t really comment on it. Right now we’re still trying to find the 53-man roster. I want to win. That’s it. That’s all I want to do.
It’s going to be a process. We’re going through that process. We had a lot to clean up.
-Q: You think you’re still in that clean-up process?
-DAVIS: No, I think once we get through this 53-man roster, I think we’ve got a pretty bright future ahead of us.