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Oakland stadium proposal would be smallest in NFL

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The latest proposal for a new stadium in Oakland would mean the Raiders would have by far the smallest stadium in the NFL.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There was once a very ambitious idea in place for the city of Oakland with regard to the desperate need for new sports facilities. That proposal was called Coliseum City and it included state of the art facilities for all three current Oakland sports teams - the A's, Warriors, and Raiders. The proposal made in Oakland Monday was considerably more modest.

Not only in the city of Oakland preparing for the possibility the A's and Warriors - who wish to move to San Francisco and San Jose respectively - will eventually relocate, but the grand ideas for Coliseum City have dwindled into plans of building what would be the smallest capacity stadium in the NFL.

The stadium proposal is that of a 50,000 seat facility which would be by far the smallest in the NFL. The current smallest in Soldier Field in Chicago which seats $61,500.

UPDATE: The original 50,000 seat projection didn't include club and loge seats which brings the seat total up to 56,500 which is more reasonable, although it would still be the smallest in the NFL by 5000 seats.

A study by advisory firm AECOM concluded 56,500 was the capacity that would fit the demand of the area. It explains why the Raiders have had such difficulty selling out their current stadium which seats 63,132 and will be tarping off the 'Mount Davis' upper deck section this season, bringing capacity down to 53,250.

The good news of such a stadium is the price is ‘just' $800 million. For a comparison, the 49ers new 68,500 seat stadium in Santa Clara has a $1.3 billion price tag. That's a $500 million difference.

The bad news is the Raiders say they can only cover $300 million of the cost. If the NFL kicks in their standard $200 million stadium loan, that leaves $300 million left over for the city and county and therefore the taxpayers to cover.

The reason the 49ers can afford a stadium that is $500 million dollars more expensive is their corporate sponsorship. They earn some $400 million in corporate dollars from luxury boxes and suites and seat licences. The Raiders have long had difficulty in that area and currently expect to receive around $100 million in corporate money to aid in construction.

The biggest problem for the city and county would be attempting to recover that $300 million in revenues. Coliseum City was to include a convention center, hotels, and shops that would bring a considerable amount of commerce. If the Raiders end up being the only team which remains in Oakland, that isn't enough of a draw to make Coliseum City a reality.

Also, new stadiums bring with them the hopes of hosting a Super Bowl and the NFL would not be too keen on holding the largest sporting event in the world in a miniscule stadium.

The Raiders lease at Coliseum is upon us. It expires in 2014 and if there hasn't been a workable proposal agreed upon by that time, the Raiders will not sign a new deal to remain in Oakland Coliseum and will be forced to consider relocating - Los Angeles, of course, being the most logical destination.

At this point the question becomes if it's a workable proposal for the city to shell out $300 million for a small stadium with extremely limited potential revenue generation if it means Oakland retains at least ONE professional sports team.