Atlanta GA Cyber-link to Oakland, CA – The Friday April 20th morning meeting of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority (Coliseum JPA), consisted of an impatient group of people minus Oakland District Three Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney. That’s too bad, because the Downtown-West Oakland-Adams Point rep who’s showed up for what I’m told is about less than half of all of the Coliseum JPA meetings this 2017-2018 season, missed a doozy of a session: one that may have determined Oakland’s future course in sports history.
The Oakland Raiders, and more specifically Mark Davis giving direction to team president Marc Badain, have still not told the Coliseum JPA if they are going to take the lease extension deal offered to them in February: one that winds up doubling the rent for 2020 to $6 million.
Of the JPA Board Members i’ve contacted, there were some who wanted to lower the rent ask to the Raiders, and others who objected, and none who wanted to be named for this news post. The outcome? The Raiders have less time to respond to the lease offer than before: June 30th is the date. I think that’s a good thing.
The Oakland Raiders have been jacking around the Coliseum JPA almost since they came back to Oakland. Al Davis blasted the deal on national TV in 1997. Then the Raiders went lawsuit happy and tried to win damage money against Oakland in court because they were cartoon-level lines-coming-out-of-their heads pissed off over the bad PSL sales two years later. Then came a nice run to Super Bowl 39, and a quite period of seeming bliss from 2002 to 2007.
Then in 2008, the Raiders were unhappy again, and talking about moving back to LA, having rejected San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jed York’s offer to share his Levi’s Stadium because, as Jed told me, “Mark didn’t like the color of the seats (red)”. That started a near un-broken string of whining on the part of the Silver and Black, with vacations from the rancor in 2009-2010, only to resume in 2011, and continue with San Antonio, Carson, and eventually Las Vegas as relocation targets. And, with the Raiders holding what ESPN called “secret meetings” for three years from 2014 to 2016, before getting their stadium deal approved by the Nevada Legislature October 16, 2016.
So, almost since they got back to Oakland, the Raiders have either bad mouthed the deal, threatened to move, and held meetings behind the collective back of the Coliseum JPA, all the while asking for as low rent as possible, and even (allegedly) withholding parking money the JPA was supposed to receive.
So, it’s not hard to understand why the Friday morning meeting of the Coliseum JPA consisted of some folks who’d had enough of being treated like the Oakland Raiders occasional side piece. That feeling increased when the news the Raiders were, as it was put, “snooping around” San Diego was let out at the meeting. Yep, the Oakland Raiders have been trying to be the temporary San Diego Raiders until the Las Vegas Money Pit, uh, I mean stadium, is read… Whenever it’s ready.
To date, the Raiders have no announced a deal in San Diego. Considering a number of factors, it’s no wonder: the Chargers rent was $3.3 million, which is about what the Raiders are set to pay the Coliseum JPA this year. Then there’ travel costs and housing costs, and luxury suite sales, and basically all of the considerations they are facing in Las Vegas, save the new stadium planning, and the Raiders are in a costly and unnecessary spot in San Diego; staying in Oakland makes more sense, but Mark Davis seems bent on making the JPA go back to its customary position of nice guy finishing last and getting cheated on by his wife.
“This is a divorce” was the view constantly given to me by a number of Coliseum JPA Members, and so they feel, to a person, that the Raiders owe them.
They’re not a happy group, the Coliseum JPA. I have to admit, the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors would have to be high on weed not to share their view. But considering the meeting was held on 4-20 and one of their members was absent once again, maybe many of them are.
Meanwhile, between now and June 30th, the Raiders find themselves on the clock, and I’m not referring to the NFL Draft.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media