On the morning of Friday, June 15th, at 8:30 am, the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Board will meet at Oracle Arena to take up an exciting possibility: the XFL at the Oakland Coliseum in 2020. That year would be the last one for NFL Football, with the planned depature of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas.
Howard Handler, the XFL Project Manager who came from Major League Soccer and the NFL to help revive the spring football league, is spearheading the effort to bring it to Oakland – if the Coliseum JPA submets a proposal.
According to Oakland Coliseum JPA Executive Director P Scott McKibben, the XFL presents “a good opportunity,”
“The XFL sent us this request for proposal,” McKibben said. “What it asks us to do is show what we have: demographics, stadium facility, media, and so on. They know we’re the sixth largest media market in the country. And they picked Oakland because the last time the XFL was here, the San Francisco Demons had the best attendance in 2001 (in the XFL).”
McKibben took effort to stress the point that this meeting “is all preliminary.” We want to have a keen interest in this, but not as an impediment to the (Oakland) A’s.” The Coliseum JPA Boss said he did talk to Oakland Athletics President Dave Kaval, and that Kaval told him his only concern would be how it impacts the team’s baseball schedule. I sent an email to Mr. Kaval to follow up on this, and I expect he will get back to me larter this week, if not sooner.
A Bay Area XFL In Oakland, Or An Oakland Brand?
The XFL’s Oakland interest brings up these questions: what will the name of the team, be? Will it be an Oakland-centric team like the Raiders, or a Bay Area brand in Oakland, like the Warriors? McKibben says “The XFL wants to make an Oakland team, not a Bay Area team.”
Some Raiders fans will see this move as an attempt to replace the Raiders, but McKibben didn’t present the XFL opportunity (as he calls it) that way. He pointed to the revenue generation potential, and also what he called the “ease of scheduling”. He envisions an operational plan where the XFL works with AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group), the private company that manages the Coliseum Complex. “In this way, the scheduling of games is just like it would be for Disney On Ice, or a concert, or any other kind of event.” Scott said.
XFL Interest In Oakland Signals City’s National Status As Sports Capital
Lost in this news is the fact that the XFL approached Oakland, and not some other place in the Bay Area, first. It means that Oakland’s nationally regarded as a sports center, even with the lack of focused economic development interest the City of Oakland pays to the Coliseum.
Even as they enjoy the NBA Finals, Oakland A’s vs the LA Angeles, and will certainly want to attend Raiders games to watch Jon Gruden in action, Oakland elected officials don’t see sports as economic development. This is a mistake. The giant Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Complex, even in its badly-in-need-of-rebuiling condition, has a worldwide reputation as the place where history gets made. Just ask the 3-tme-NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. The XFL seems to want to be a part of that story. Hopefully, Oakland and the Coliseum JPA rolls out the red carpet for it.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media