Today the Alameda County board of supervisors as well as the Oakland City Council both approved by near unanimous votes a nonbinding term sheet for most recent Raiders stadium plan.
First it was the Alameda County board of supervisors which passed it by a vote of 3-1-1 (one abstention), then it went on to the Oakland City council which approved it by a vote of 7-0-1 (also one abstention).
The plan entails that the land upon which the stadium currently sits and surrounding areas would be sold to the Lott Group Oakland Pro Sports LLC along with Fortress Investments at a cost of $150 million.
The city would provide $200 million for infrastructure improvements that the the City of Oakland says would not come from public money but rather from the sale of the land and tax revenue from the stadium as well as a mixed-use venue on the site.
That combined with the some $400 million the Lott Group has agreed to kick in and the extra $100 million in G4 loans the Raiders would get from the league for staying in Oakland (not to mention having no relocation fee to pay), seems on the surface like something worth exploring.
Ronnie Lott is optimistic, telling reporters at the meeting “We need to keep winning.”
Winning is something the Raiders have done a lot of this season and the fan engagement is as high as it’s been since the early ‘00s.
Winning is what this plan is about. It’s winning over the NFL after so many failed attempts at getting a viable stadium plan off the ground in Oakland. The hopes that this plan can outperform the previous failures didn’t get off to a strong start in the eyes of the NFL.
League Vice President Eric Grubman met with the Lott group along with Raiders brass Monday to look over the new plan. The first sign it wasn’t being taken seriously was the fact that Mark Davis wasn’t there. He continuously reiterates his statement that he’s “committed to Vegas” everyone time there’s any movement on the Oakland front and someone reaches out for comment.
Davis has $750 million in public funding approved and the deep pockets of Sheldon Adelson investing in the venture for a stadium in Las Vegas beckoning. That’s what Oakland is competing with and at this moment, he and the NFL are giving this deal the cold shoulder.
Grubman spoke to USA Today after the meeting Monday, saying that the deal was a “carbon copy” of the one former developer Floyd Kephart presented which Davis rejected and the NFL repeatedly said wasn’t viable.
He even went on to express a surprising level of negativity even toward the possibility this plan could end up being workable.
“I think the intentions are good,” said Grubman. “But I don’t think there’s been any progress that suggests a breakthrough anytime soon.”
That’s certainly not what those involved in Oakland and in the Lott group want to hear, but they too admit there’s a long way to go before this plan is where it needs to be, with one analogy being made that the plan is at the 25-yard line with 75 yards to go.
Others expressing concern that Mark Davis has either changed his stance on wanting to remain in Oakland or perhaps wasn’t ever really as interested as he said he was.
“My concern is how sincere the Raiders are to staying here,” said county Supervisor Wilma Chan. “We don’t want to have a big wedding and have the groom not show up."
In any case, today’s vote was a necessary step in a process that has restarted before, but hopes not to get tripped up by the same pitfalls as previous plans. If they can eventually get the league’s attention and perhaps Davis’s, then this drive could move past midfield and into scoring position.
Time is of the essence though. The Raiders are eligible to file for relocation as of January 1. After that the destination of the Raiders will be in the hands of the other 31 NFL owners.