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Raiders, A’s spar over future facilities

Howard Terminal, Oakland A's ballpark

Though there’s nothing close to a tangible project under consideration, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is accusing the Oakland Athletics of standing between his team and a sparkling new stadium at the current O.Co Coliseum site.

Now, you’d expect Davis to be in hog heaven with so many options for his franchise — a move to Los Angeles (for a reported $1 a year in rent at Stan Kroenke’s new Inglewood stadium) if the Chargers stay in San Diego, a move to Las Vegas, a move to San Diego if the Chargers move to Los Angeles in 2017, or a new stadium in Oakland. He should be a happy man, right?

Apparently not.

In an announcement that the team had signed a one-year lease extension to play at Coliseum until the NFL shakeup (perhaps) ends in 2017, Davis t0ok some shots at the A’s ownership and a 10-year Coliseum lease extension signed in 2014. This lease extension isn’t exactly the firmest of agreements — the A’s can be booted with two years notice, and there are no team protections against other construction at the Coliseum site — but for Davis, the agreement is absolutely killing any notion of a new Raiders stadium:

“That’s the problem. They signed a 10-year lease while we were negotiating with Oakland officials), and it kind of put somebody right in the middle of things,” Davis said. “There isn’t much you can do. They’ve tied our hands behind our back.

“Now it’s up to the A’s to make a declaration of what they want to do. If they don’t do that, I don’t see how we can make a deal.”

Davis hopes the A’s and Raiders can work together under his vision for the Coliseum site. The Athletics prefer to play at Coliseum and build a ballpark next to it. The Raiders want to tear down the aging sports venue, play off site and return to a newly minted site that features a football stadium and a new ballpark.

“We like the game day experience of tailgating on that parking lot. We don’t want to give that up,” Davis said. “People have not listened when I’ve said that I don’t mind building two stadiums on that site. The A’s stadium would take about 12 acres, and a Raiders stadium would take 15-17 acres. That’s fine with me, but I don’t want to give up the parking.”

And, apparently, neither do the A’s — both teams would love to see a new facility at the Coliseum site. But the issue really isn’t whether the A’s are killing any chances for a new Raiders stadium via a mushy Coliseum ease: it’s the total lack of enthusiasm from local officials for putting any money into any new sports facilities.  And right now a new billion-dollar Raiders stadium isn’t financially possible given a $400 million gap after the Raiders bring in $600 million ($200 million in NFL G4 funds, $100 million from the NFL as part of the Los Angeles relocation plan, $300 million from the team).

The A’s, for their part, pretty much ignored Davis’s little rant and issued the following curt statement:

“Today’s announcement by the JPA regarding the Oakland Raiders does not change the Oakland A’s goal of securing a baseball-only facility. We are aggressively working with the City of Oakland and relevant stakeholders to evaluate venue sites.”

There are so many variable right now regarding the Coliseum site it’s not funny. The A’s may end up looking at a new ballpark at the Howard Terminal site, and the future of Oracle Arena remains to be seen if the Golden State Warriors indeed land a new arena in downtown San Francisco. There are still no assurances the Raiders will stay in Oakland: while the Chargers have dibs on sharing the new Inglewood stadium with the Los Angeles Rams, the Raiders are next in line if the Chargers stay in San Diego.

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