Dec 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans arrive before the game against the Denver Broncos at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coliseum Lease Vote May Decide Raiders’ Future in Oakland

The Raiders stadium drama heated up when it was recently reported that Raiders and the entities behind the Coliseum City plan were working to close a deal to demolish the Coliseum next year and replace it with a new stadium by 2018 as the centerpiece of the Coliseum City development project.  Reports indicated that the plan came as a shock to the Coliseum Joint Powers Commission and the Oakland A’s, who have come to an agreement on a 10 year lease in the aging stadium.  While the Oakland City Council had instructed its representatives on the Joint Commission to vote against the lease, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has come out publicly in favor of a lease extension, despite the fact that this would seem on its surface to kill or at least dramatically delay the Coliseum City development plan that the city has been actively pursuing for years.

Quan, at least publicly, believes that Oakland can keep both the Raiders and A’s, and that both will have new homes in Oakland in the foreseeable future.  The Raiders, who have been working actively with the Capital City development team, want their new stadium sooner rather than later, while the A’s are apparently willing to wait.  Should the City approve the A’s Coliseum lease, the A’s would need two years notice before the Coliseum is demolished, meaning that demolition could not occur until the fall of 2016 at the earliest – more than a year later than the plan favored by the Raiders.  Should the lease not be approved, the A’s may make good on plans to leave Oakland and head to San Jose, or they could choose to work with the Coliseum City developers for a long-range solution in Oakland.  What is abundantly clear is that if the Raiders do not have the promise of a new stadium in Oakland by the end of the 2014 season, they will leave.

Reports coming out of the respective camps must also all be viewed through the lens of the political situation in Oakland.  In an election year, politicians like Quan and members of the City Council are all trying to keep their jobs, and being willing to part with either of Oakland’s two remaining pro teams is not a popular political position in Oakland. Colony Capital and other backers of the Coliseum City project stand to gain the most financially if the plans for the development go forward, and may be the only entity in play with the type of money necessary to keep either team, or both.  The County Board of Supervisors, who are also part of the Joint Powers Commission, clearly prefer to close the deal with the A’s and pay off the current debt on the Coliseum before any new development can go forward.

Suffice it to say that if and when the City Council votes on this lease will be a key point in the ongoing Raiders stadium saga. Should the City Council approve the lease, it could very well could cause Raiders owner Mark Davis to further pursue his options elsewhere. But should they not approve the lease, there are still no guarantees, and we may not know anything for certain until after the 2014 season is played and the 2014 elections have been decided.

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  • B Christopher

    The folks in Oakland are always complaining about not having enough money for social problems, and infrastructure, doesn’t it make sense to keep existing and bring new development and dollars to the area? A Colesium City with a new state of the art stadium and shopping complex will be guaranteed a Super Bowl in the first 5 years after completion. A Super Bowl, reportedly brings more than half a Billion, with a B, to the local economy. Restaurants fill up, hotels, which the city gets a very high tax on, sell out. With the stadium being located in California, and the beautiful Bay Area, I would imagine 2 superbowls in the decade following completion of the Colesium City. The local economy experiences a windfall of dollars. WHY WHY WHY is the city council and the Mayr so opposed to city dollars being spent on a sporting/shopping destination??? It seems very short-sighted to me. Other cities front dollars, why not anyone in CA?? We are the 5th largest economy in the world, larger than Russia and Italy, and we have no teams in LA/OC, and the Raiders/A’s are playing in a stadium that broke ground a few weeks after JFK was assassinated. The sewer back up in the clubhouses, the bathrooms stink, etc. Here, the poor Raiders are the only team that plays in a dual use stadium with dirt on it for half the season, and in these conditions. I happen to live in SoCal, so, I will gladly welcome the Raiders back down here, but, at the same time, it completely boggles my mind that the city of Oakland can’t get this done, they’ve only been at it for 35 years. It’s not like the Davis family has just sprung the idea of leaving Oakland on them. Wake up!

  • KloverJane

    Maybe they should have a meeting about a meeting. They can draw flow charts and show power point presentations. All while showing how important they think they are. Forget making an educated decision that makes sense for the economic growth of a community. Just skirt the issue until it’s too late. Then point fingers. Their practical alternative to work.

  • p.rob.

    I agree ,I’m from SC also but live in this garbage D.Cowboy country now.I truly believe if the Raiders have a winning season this year that it will put added pressure on the C.C. of Oakland to do the right thing and build a new complex with all the bells and whistles.Ya just dont know how it is to be a Raider fan for 45yrs,, and have to drive by Jerry’s World everyday knowing that your favorite team playing on a baseball field in 2014…What a Shame.WAKE UP OAKLAND CC…..GO RAIDERS!!

  • Mark Shafer

    Both the Raiders and the A’s have very dedicated fan bases. Where ever and when ever they play the seats will sell. If they sell out in a out dated facility, how many more seats will be filled in a state of the art facility?
    Other cities can see that. I think for the Oakland city council to see that there needs to be series of “sonic popping ” sounds. That would be their heads popping out of where the sun don’t shine.

  • MLorsche

    Oakland and Alameda County are so strapped for cash and in debt the issue is probably that they don’t have the money to invest up front, that’s why they need partners like Colony Capital who bring money to the table. But Colony Capital isn’t going to front a multi-billion dollar project unless they’re guaranteed something more on the back end than just some restaurant leases and housing units. They’re probably going to want a piece of the Raiders or the A’s or both, and Mark might be leveraging Colony Capital’s offers against other out of town offers. Good chance Mark is wiling to give up a portion of the team in order to get his new stadium – either in Oakland, LA or other.

    In the near term, approving the lease, keeping the A’s, and letting the Raiders walk actually makes the most financial sense for Oakland. The NFL wasn’t known for routinely holding Super Bowls in the Bay Area in the past, and one Super Bowl plus 10-12 home games per year isn’t going to generate the kind of consistent economic activity of 81-93 baseball games every year guaranteed. Lucky for Raider fans in Oakland, the City of Oakland didn’t become broke by doing things that made financial sense, and this is an election year.

  • Bob

    It is like the Doomsday Clock. It is 11:59:59 for the A’s and Raiders stadium deals and the powers that e don’t even see it.

  • Larry McDaniel

    Here’s the solution: Mark Davis and Leo Wolff should swap teams. Move the Raiders to San Jose and the A’s to Los Angeles. Then, move the Dodgers back to Brooklyn, and the Clippers back to San Diego. Move the Rams and Angels to Oakland. And then move the Jaguars to London and the Yankees to Hawaii. Viola! Everyone’s happy!