In their ongoing effort to retain the Raiders, Oakland city officials met with Raiders’ owner Mark Davis and team president Amy Trask, as well as representatives from the NFL.
The delegation from Oakland, which included Mayor Jean Quan, City Council President Larry Reid and Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi, were tasked with convincing both the Raiders and the NFL that a new stadium is feasible at the current cite of the 46 year-old O.Co Coliseum. The new stadium would be part of a redevelopment project that would include stadiums for both the Warriors and Athletics (though the A’s would likely share a home with the Raiders), as well as a miscellany of shops and restaurants. The crux of the proposal is the Raiders, along with the Warriors and Athletics, would foot the bill.
The Raiders have made it known they wish to stay in Oakland. “Oakland is my preference,” Mark Davis said. “I see us as an urban team, being in a city. I want it to work here. I’d like to stay here.” However, such a proposal makes a stadium seem unlikely, especially since the NFL has already committed $200 million to the 49ers for their new stadium in Santa Clara. The money just wouldn’t add up.
But there are two other options for the Raiders: Santa Clara and Los Angeles.
In July of 2011, 49ers president Jed York said the team was open to conversations about a shared stadium between his team and the Raiders. “We’ve discussed it, but there’s no plans. There’s nothing in the works,” York told ESPN. “And again, it’s something we remain open to, but it’s got to be the right deal for two teams. There’s nothing that anybody can force to make that happen.”
Back in January of this year, Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Mathews told the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal that the Santa Clara stadium was designed with two teams in mind. “We designed it for a second team” Mathews intimated. “So it’s our ambition to get a second team.”
Though there a few hurdles left to be cleared, construction on a new stadium in downtown Los Angeles, could commence as early as March of 2013 — which would be much earlier than any timetable the city of Oakland could produce. Of course the question is not when or if a team will move to the nation’s second largest economy, but who and how many.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made his desire for two teams in Los Angeles clear. “Consistent with our long-standing view,” Goodell wrote in a memo, “we have made it clear that any stadium seeking investment support from the 32 member clubs should preserve a viable option of being able to host two teams at appropriate times and on appropriate terms.” Currently, the Raiders, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers are the most feasible options for relocation.
But a Raider move to Los Angeles wouldn’t be without its own obstacles. The biggest of which involve Mark Davis.
“The league is going to want someone [an owner] in that market who has strong local connections,” one team official told Jason La Canfora of CBSsports.com. “This is someone who has to understand the marketing, the branding, and have the financial wherewithal and experience to pull it off.”
League sources do not believe Davis fits that description. As Mike Floria of ProFootballTalk.com wrote, “The prevailing opinion among the league’s power brokers is that the owners most likely would not authorize a move by the Raiders unless owner Mark Davis sells controlling interest in the team.”
Alas, if the Raiders were considering a move to Los Angeles, fans would know soon. According to Goodell’s requirements for a team intending to relocate to Los Angeles, the interested team must negotiate a deal with an alternative site (the Rose Bowl or Coliseum) to host games while the downtown stadium is under construction. The team must also submit a petition to relocate within the first two weeks of 2013. With the Raiders’ lease set to expire after the 2013 season, they’ve got no time to waste.
With the construction in Santa Clara in full swing and construction in Los Angeles ready to begin, the Raiders have options, but not time. This of course puts the onus on Oakland to develop a plan that can deliver a new stadium both quickly and cheaply.