XFL Team Cities Named, Oakland A’s Schedule Keeps Spring Football Out Of Oakland Coliseum

Today, The XFL named the list of cities that will host a team in the new professional football league starting in 2020. Eight cities were called out: Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C.

Mayor Schaaf and Dave Kaval
Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval with Mayor Schaaf and Assm Bonta

Originally, one of the cities was expected to be Oakland, but Dave Kaval, the Oakland Athletics President (pictured with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and California Assemblyman Rob Bonta D-18), could not work out an arrangement with Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben and XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck that fit the needs of all three organizations.

As Mr. McKibben explained over the phone today “Once we do the changeover (from football to baseball after the Oakland Raiders NFL Season is over), it’s hard to change back,” McKibben said. “The A’s faced the prospect of changing over after the Fall NFL Season, then changing back twice again during the spring for the XFL. Kaval knows Luck from when he (the father of Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck) was Houston Dynamo President, so they have a good relationship. They tried to work out something, and took great pains to do so, but couldn’t.”

McKibben said he then sent Luck to Cal in Berkeley, where the XFL boss was not successful in working out a deal there. Reportedly, five XFL games were not enough to offset game expenses to the University and satisfy Cal Athletic Director Jim Knolton.

Then, McKibben said Luck went down to San Jose, but for reasons McKibben said he’s not aware of, the XFL boss could not work out a deal there, either.

With all of that, McKibben believes a deal can be done to get the XFL to Oakland once the A’s get their jewel box ballpark at Howard Terminal. All of that depends on the A’s final plan for the Coliseum grounds and Oracle Arena. However, there is another possible land control option with the Coliseum.

Oakland As Howard Terminal Ballpark Interior

The A’s Need Oakland Coliseum Land to gain money to finance Howard Terminal, or use TIF at the waterfront site.

The A’s Ballpark will cost an estimated $850 million to build. In the privately financed plan, the A’s have created a dual-site approach using both Howard Terminal and The Coliseum land. That is the only way they can afford the stadium construction cost. However, there is an alternative – but it calls for public money.

As has been mentioned on this site before, via SB 628 Bealle, a tax increment financing (TIF) district can be established around Howard Terminal. Such a plan formed and based on the boundary lines presented in the 2010 Gruen + Gruen economic study would yield $369,337,417.99 in revenue. So, if 23 percent of that is used to build low-income housing, that comes a remained of $227,130,419.85 for the A’s ballpark project.

That would mean the A’s would not need to have the Coliseum property to be able to finance the Howard Terminal jewel box. The Coliseum Stadium would be saved, and available for use in a new sports venture, or as the site for an NFL expansion franchise, as some Raiders fans have said to me they wanted.

The question is why didn’t the City of Oakland take that approach? The best answer is there is still a lingering fear of using any public sector financial instrument that may threaten the City’s General Fund. The Raiders deal cost Oakland over $220 million in bond debt Oakland is still paying for because not enough “personal seat licenses” were sold.

The Oakland Expansion Team Name?

The leading name? The Oakland Invaders: the same brand of USFL team that was created in the wake of the first Raiders relocation to Los Angeles.

Think about it: the Oakland Invaders visiting the Las Vegas Raiders. Seems fitting, especially if the Invaders blow the Raiders out of their own Las Vegas Stadium.

Stay tuned.

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