The Washington Post

Just because the Raiders and Oakland have worked out ‘basic terms’ of a new stadium deal doesn’t mean a new stadium will happen

(Associated Press)

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the Oakland Raiders and the city of Oakland have agreed to the “basic terms” of a deal to build the NFL team a new stadium, which is expected cost between $900 million and $1.2 billion. Under the terms of the prospective deal, the city would give the franchise the land to build the stadium, pay for infrastructure improvements on the land and continue to pay off the $120 million still owed for the expansion of the 48-year-old Coliseum, which helped lure the Raiders back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995.

Taxpayers wouldn’t pay for construction of the stadium itself, to be located at a sports, housing and retail complex called Coliseum City. That money would come from “revenue generated by the project, the NFL and other private sources,” the Chronicle reports.

That news is laid out in the first three paragraphs of the Chronicle’s story. The ensuing paragraphs are filled with people casting doubt about whether it’s actually possible. Here’s a look at all the issues such a plan faces.

1.) Raiders owner Mark Davis has been actively looking to move the team.

The Raiders have been wooed by San Antonio. There also are a lot of powerful people, both inside the NFL and out, who would love to see the Raiders occupy a new stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The team’s lease on the current Coliseum expires after this season, and Davis has said he does not want to sign another one-year extension. The Chronicle story implies that Davis and the Raiders must approve any new deal. What if they get a better one elsewhere?

2.) The city of Oakland doesn’t have a plan in place to pay the $120 million still owed on the current stadium.

Oakland currently pays $20 million a year on the $120 million still owed on past Coliseum expansion. Oakland City Council member Larry Reid, who is also a member of the Coliseum Authority that runs the stadium, told the Chronicle that he was surprised by that aspect of the new-stadium deal. “I have asked that the (Coliseum City) item be scheduled for closed session for an update at our next (council) meeting,” he said. A spokesman for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, meanwhile, was asked where the $120 million would come from. “That’s a great question that we will probably not say anything about,” he said.

3.) The old Coliseum would be demolished. So where would the Oakland A’s play?

Oh right, the baseball team that just signed a 10-year lease extension to play at a stadium that’s now slated to be destroyed! What about those dudes? Reports the Chronicle: “Sources close to the Coliseum City negotiations tell us that if the A’s won’t play ball with the project’s backers, part of the land could be turned over to team owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher for their own privately developed ballpark.”

So just a few roadblocks. No problems at all.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.



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Cindy Boren · September 3, 2014

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