Oakland Raiders talk playing at SF Giants AT&T Park, but will the Silver and Black get the $9 Million the Oakland Coliseum gives them annually?
The talk is all over the sports World that the Oakland Raiders are negotiating with the San Francisco Giants to play at AT&T Park. The mainstream not-interested-in-details-because-it-thinks-you-are-stupid media seems to believe its a done deal.
Well, I don’t. Wait a second, because there are a few snags, here. Let’s take two major ones.
While the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee had zero problem stealing the Golden State Warriors from Oakland and making the City of Oakland under then-Mayor Jean Quan look like it was asleep at the economic development wheel, it’s not clear current Mayor London Breed has any desire to effectively insert herself in the middle of a lawsuit between the City of Oakland and the Oakland Raiders. No, the City and County of San Franscisco doesn’t own AT&T Park, but yes, they do have a partnership with the SF Giants, and yes, President & CEO Larry Baer is politically sensitive, so you can bet he’s going to check Mayor Breed’s view on the idea of the Raiders in San Francisco.
Then, there’s this matter of fact: the Raiders get $9 million to play at the Oakland Coliseum, and that’s as per the Master Lease Agreement, otherwise known as the Raiders Lease (don’t confuse that with the lease extension documents, folks. Just FYI.) In other words, the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority pays the Oakland Raiders Game Day Expenses and everything from security to the ushers and parking staffers and cleanup folks, and on-the-field staff – every game. And the Coliseum JPA has done this since 1996, when the Raiders returned to Oakland from LA. In fact, that the Coliseum JPA covers so many game day expenses for the Oakland Raiders was part of the deal that got them to leave LA for Oakland, in the first place.
The Oakland Raiders have enjoyed a $200 million grant (and counting) from the Oakland Coliseum JPA to play at the Coliseum since 1996.
So, if you care about how Oakland and Alameda County does business with the Raiders and want to make yourself mad, take the present value of what the Silver and Black gets from the Coliseum JPA, then multiply that times 23 years – that’s $9 million times 23 years or $207 million.
In other words, the Raiders have been the constant, annual beneficiaries of a grant that’s totaled $207 million, assuming present value of the Raiders NFL Game Day services going back all those years in the Oakland Coliseum. (And the sources of that money are from the Coliseum’s all-funds account and the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda.)
And if you want to make yourself really sick to the stomach, consider that the Raiders never paid for major upgrades to the Coliseum over that time. The Raiders could have snagged a $200 million loan from the NFL to use at the Coliseum (the NFL program is not restricted to new stadiums, folks).
Want to get even sicker? Okay.
The Oakland Raiders have paid only about $925,000 in annual rent until the recent set of rent increases starting in 2016 brought the payment due to the $3.5 million its at today. And even at $7.5 million, its still less than the the $9 million “grant” Raiders receive in Coliseum services!
In other words, and to repeat the idea in a different way so it hits home in your head, the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda have subsidized the game day operation of the Oakland Raiders for 23 freaking years! Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis should thank the people of Oakland and Alameda County. You know?
Want to get even more sicker than that? Okay.
Yes, it’s one year, but will the SF Giants, first, run the political risk of upsetting Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf in the middle of a lawsuit against the Raiders, and then give the Raiders $9 million just to play at AT&T Park. In other words, pay the Raiders to help them take an action in direct response to the City of Oakland lawsuit against the team and the NFL? And the same City that paid $207 million to help keep them in business for 23 years. If the NFL wants a candidate for community ownership, ladies and gents, I present to you, Oakland!
And then there’s the matter of territorial rights, because the Raiders would be playing in San Francisco 49ers territory. The only time the 49ers benefit from that is if the Raiders were to agree to cough up $14.5 million to play at Levi’s Stadium, plus the $800,000 game day cost (I can’t see the 49ers giving the Raiders a gift like that).
Now, the Oakland Raiders should know that the NFL considers “home territory” to be marked by San Francisco and a zone half-the-distance between San Francisco and Oakland. The league never made an adjustment for Santa Clara because it never saw this scenario coming. I can’t see the 49ers allowing this to happen unless the NFL pays the South Bay team.
All of the signs point against this deal happening, but get your popcorn ready!
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media