The game of chicken goes something like this: “two drivers drive towards each other on a collision course: one must swerve, or both may die in a crash, but if one driver swerves and the other does not, the one who swerved will be called a “chicken”, meaning that person’s a coward.”
In the case of the Oakland Raiders, and the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, they are the two drivers headed toward each other. The “ collision course” is the sizable rent increase that’s at the center of the Coliseum JPA proposal. The Raiders, by taking a month to say whether or not they will accept the Coliseum JPA lease extension, are playing with the idea that the stadium owner will eventually cave in and give the NFL team a lower rent.
But my sources say that’s not happening. “The deal is the deal,” as I was told, today.
I was also informed that the Raiders are still interested in staying in Oakland and playing at the Coliseum until their new money-pit of a sports complex is ready to be used in Las Vegas. So, with that in mind, Marc Badain wants the JPA to give an alternative proposal, but he’s not going to get one. The Coliseum JPA, on the other hand as of now, left the door open for the Raiders to come up with an “innovative and creative” counter-offer – so far, the Raiders have done nothing.
At some point, the two sides have to decide what to do. The Coliseum JPA does not want to give in to the Oakland Raiders because there’s still very hard feelings over the way the Raiders manipluated them in going behind their collective back to do a stadium deal, first for Carson, then for Las Vegas. And then there’s the million dollars in parking revenue not paid to the Coliseum JPA, and that issue’s not been resolved either (to this date).
The Raiders being, well, the Oakland Raiders, are trying to pay as little as possible to the Coliseum JPA, while sticking around the facility. The way I see it, the Raiders agreed to give Jon Gruden a 10-year, $100 million contract, and have floated the idea of a giant, guaranteed money deal for Khalil Mack. Why not give something to the Coliseum JPA, out the door to Las Vegas? Seems to be an OK request to me.
The Oakland Raiders have until the end of June to work all of this out, unless the Coliseum JPA decides to move up the drop-dead-date at the April 20th meeting. That would be akin to moving the goal posts, but the Coliseum JPA’s as mad at the Raiders as a mad hatter. The board is in no mood to mess around – if the Raiders leave after 2018, the Coliseum JPA believes they can weather the void of events for what would be the 2019 NFL Season. “They save over $1 million by the Raiders being gone,” a source said,”and while some jobs will be gone from the Raiders departure, that can be made up.”
So, we now know the Raiders, at least for this week, are into staying in Oakland for as long as possible. My read is the team isn’t rich enough to fashion an affordable, alternative place to play in a short period of time. So, say goodbye to Sam Boyd Stadium as the new temporary home. Not happening. (It’s really not suited for NFL Foorball without a $50 million upgrade – at least).
In my view, here’s what the Raiders should do: take the million in parking money they owe, and use that to make an expanded West Side Club. The problem with the club now is not enough places to buy food to complement the bar space. Spend the million to build a kind of mini-food-court and also push that wall out to the patio area in the process, bringing that outdoor space, indoors. Then the Raiders could argue they spent money to help make money for the Coliseum JPA and its tenants, then ask for a million reduction in the rent offer, and be good to go.
There, problem solved.
But then the Raiders never listen to me; would be good for them to change. Given my call with the stadium plan Davis asked for, my year-old-plus assertion that the Clark County hotel stadium tax was too small, and my report that Las Vegas has a visitor rate problem, I’m three-for-three – the prospects of me making it four-for-four look pretty good.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media