On the final business day before the NFL owners are to vote on whether or not to approve the Raiders’ Las Vegas relocation bid, Oakland has made their pitch to give them all something to think about over the weekend.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Wednesday night to make the case for Oakland.
“We have had a lot of input from the Oakland officials,” Goodell said on the MMQB podcast Thursday. “I just spoke to the mayor again (Wednesday night). We continue to maintain a great deal of dialogue to make sure we’ve done everything we possibly can to run down every opportunity to keep teams where they are.”
Goodell went on to insist he and the league “pursue every last opportunity to get a stadium built and allow those teams to stay there.” The relocation of the Rams last year and the expected cutting in half of the Raiders’ relocation fee somewhat suggest otherwise.
The next part of the pitch came in the form of a letter from Schaaf to Goodell and NFL VP Eric Grubman along with various plans for the stadium site which would allow options that would keep the A’s out of the equation, whether they stay on the current site or find a stadium elsewhere.
In the letter, which was initially released by NBC Bay Area which you can read here, Mayor Schaaf reiterates several points along with adding a few others.
Among the details, Schaaf puts together the financial details which she says rival and in some ways exceeds what Las Vegas is offering. The financial details include as much as $750 million from Fortress investment group which is $150 from the land and, should the Raiders prefer to have Fortress out of the planning portions, as much as $600 million in the form of a loan she says is similar to the one the Raiders are getting from Bank of America in Vegas.
The sale of the land has been said to be a major sticking point for the NFL who purportedly would like to have control of it. However, as part of the City’s ENA with Fortress Investments, which was also noted in the packet sent to the league today, they are open to dealing directly with the NFL along with Fortress not being part of the deal.
“Subject to County approval, the City reiterates its ongoing willingness to develop an alternative direct deal with the NFL/Raiders if the inclusion of a third party is deemed to be problematic. The Lott Group and Fortress are willing to “step aside” from one or more elements of the transactions and development. In that case they request that they will receive preferential treatment should there be a need for third party capital.”
Schaaf goes on to say that the above $750 million plus the $500 million from the league and $200 million from the city for infrastructure improvements, is enough to fully finance the stadium because an open air stadium on the current site would be considerably cheaper than the proposed $1.9 billion domed stadium plan in Vegas.
In essence saying that the $550 million difference in public funding is made up in the projected $600-$700 million difference in the costs of the two stadiums.
The final pluses which Schaaf reiterates are the accessibility to the freeway and mass transit (BART) which would include the city paying for a $50 million upgrade. This coupled with the fact that the Bay Area is the 6th biggest market in the country and Vegas is 40th.
Where it gets really interesting is with regard to the A’s, which Schaaf denotes as the league’s “most fundamental concern”.
First and foremost, she insists the A’s plans will in no way inhibit any stadium plans for the Raiders on the current site, putting the Raiders stadium on the 55-acre portion on the Southern side of the current stadium which she said is available to develop right away.
Schaaf cites examples where such a two-stadium site arrangement has worked out well such as Seattle, Baltimore, and Arlington (TX).
Oakland has released renderings of what the site may look like in various scenarios.
First would be the site with the current stadium in place while the A’s seek a new stadium of their own. This rendering assumed Oracle Arena would be demolished with the Warriors headed for San Francisco.
Then should they decide to stay on the site, which would mean they build their new stadium in the North lot and eventually a new mixed use area would be placed between the two stadiums.
In the case of the A’s choosing to build their new park on another site, the plans replace the park in the rendering above with additional mixed use developments.
These development plans would have the Raiders new stadium opening in August of 2021.
Along with the letter to the league and the renderings, Schaaf put out a statement directed at the fans to suggest to them that she and Oakland has done their part.
“We’re not giving up in the fourth quarter,” said Schaaf. “Since I took office two years ago, I have been focused on taking a team-centered approach that is responsible to the Raiders, the NFL, the fans and the taxpayers of Oakland. We’ve been successful in doing the environmental clearance, aligning the City and the County which jointly own the land, engaging the league and bringing partners to the table in the Lott Group and Fortress who have the financial backing, compassion for this community and intimate knowledge of the game -- on and off the field -- to get a deal done. All that’s missing is the Raiders.
“I know how passionate the Bay Area is about the Raiders,” said NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. “To rip this team away from Oakland for a second time would be heartbreaking and entirely unnecessary given that we have a viable option on the table that keeps them here and helps this community and the team grow. We have a sophisticated financial partner in Fortress. We have done the due diligence, and it is clear that the only fully-financed, ready-to-roll option for the Raiders is in Oakland.”
Below is the packet the City of Oakland sent to the NFL as provided to the Bay Area News Group.
Will the NFL see this as enough to change their minds from what has at this point been deemed a likely approval for relocation to Vegas? We’ll soon see. A third option in all this is a delayed vote, pushing it to the May owner’s meetings.