With Oakland looking down the barrel of NFL relocation, they have closed their eyes and begun to pray. The deadline for the city to submit a stadium plan to the league to keep the Raiders in town is tomorrow and they don't have one. Unless you consider "Please?" to be a plan.
Oakland officials, along with Mayor LIbby Schaaf has stated from the start that they will not make any public money available to keep the team. It appears to be the only city of the three -- the others being St Louis and San Diego -- which has taken that hard stance. And without public money, Oakland has nothing in the way of a financial plan to keep the team and therefore nothing to submit except for a letter pleading with the NFL to keep the Raiders, this according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Such a letter would be about as effective with the NFL as the town hall meetings which were held in each of the three cities. At those meeting fans got up, many times in full costume, and told stories about how long they'd been fans and how much a part of their lives the local team is. And for the most part, those town hall meetings were looked upon as a courtesy by the NFL, not carrying a lot of weight in their decision making process.
Public funding isn't the only carrot the city of Oakland has to dangle to keep the Raiders. They also have the large plot of land on and around the current coliseum site, which former Oakland mayor Jean Quan had promised to give the Raiders free of charge. As Mark Davis told the Chronicle:
"In 2013, the city and county made a presentation that would give us the land," Davis said Monday, adding that negotiations for the team to stay in Oakland have gridlocked. The 169 acres "is the starting point for us, absolutely."
In Schaaf's plan, the Raiders would lease that land from the city while the Raiders and the NFL would be on the hook for the entirety of the expected $1 billion stadium construction. The city would only kick in the cost of infrastructure improvements, which are expected to be around $100 million.
That's asking the Raiders and the NFL to cover more than 90% of the total costs. Where the Raiders and the NFL stand is they have agreed to pay around 50% of the costs, which if that were the case, Schaaf has proposed issuing lease revenue bonds to fund the other 50% of the costs.
The bonds would be secured by a private backer and repaid with money generated by leasing the stadium to the Raiders, Schaaf told The Chronicle on Monday.
"What they're asking us to do is use revenues that the team would normally get," he said. "We need those revenues to help pay off the $500 million that we've discussed contributing."
What we're left with is a wide gap between what the Raiders want and what the city is willing to provide. And the stalemate leaves the city simply hoping they can do enough to convince the owners to vote down the Raiders and Chargers shared stadium plan in Carson. That plan is where the Raiders have their leverage. Shoot it down and it would force the two sides back to the negotiating table. Though with Schaaf already digging in her heels despite the distinct possibility the city could lose the Raiders, having the upper hand at the negotiating table seems unlikely to change anything.
All three teams will make their proposals to the league on January 4. The vote from the owners will occur at the owners meetings in Houston on January 12-13. Approval for relocation requires 24 of 32 owners.