Raiders stadium deal takes a turn


Louis Laventure ,
Sports and Campus Editor

When NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman visited the East Bay on Aug. 5 to meet with Oakland Raiders officials and discuss the team’s stadium issues, he was greeted with some surprising news.

According to county officials, Alameda County has decided to pull out of the deal with the city of Oakland and San Diego businessman Floyd W. Kephart to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The decision now gives Oakland full control over the East Bay professional football franchise.

However, the silver and black are also pursuing a joint stadium venture in Carson with the San Diego Chargers. The two teams invested $900,000 to get a ballot initiative fast tracked which would speed up the process of getting the Carson stadium built, according to reports filed on Aug. 3. The Chargers rejected a $1 billion stadium proposal from the city of San Diego on Monday to keep the franchise in the city, according to Chargers team officials.

In April, Carson City Council members approved a measure that allowed the $1.7 billion plan to bypass the environmental review process. The St. Louis Rams are also interested in a Southern California stadium in Inglewood and owner Stan Kroenke has spent nearly $2 million on getting the project approved. All three teams met with the NFL on Tuesday and gave fact finding updates on their current and future deals.

The Raiders have responded with three clear factors for the team to stay in Oakland; free land, the city of Oakland covers the cost of new infrastructure and the Raiders would not be responsible for the remaining costs of over $100 million for renovations made to Coliseum in 1995 when the team returned from Los Angeles. However, Alameda County pulling out of the deal means the city will need to pay back nearly $200 million to Alameda County.

“This is not a problem we can solve overnight,” said Oakland Councilman Larry Reid. “We have to look at all of our options and figure out what works best for us.”

The city of Oakland has until the end of August before they meet with NFL officials again. The NFL set Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, 2016 as the official relocation period for the league but Commissioner Roger Goodell said in April it could be “moved up” if necessary.

The deal presented by Kephart was widely criticized and the first stadium deal in league history that required the team to fund a majority of the project as well as sell a portion of the franchise. ESPN analyst, former Super Bowl winning executive and Hall of Fame member Bill Polian called it, “The worst deal I have ever seen in the history of the league.” The deal puts the Raiders on the hook for more money than any other stadium deal ever completed and also requires a 20 percent sale of the franchise to Kephart’s New City Development LLC, which is also a first in league history.

Oakland is the only team of the three considering relocation that have not presented a plan to stay in their current city. St. Louis and San Diego in addition to their relocation options have also presented plans to their current cities to stay put, according to the NFL.

In a radio interview last week Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley said, “The fact that we spent so much time trying to make this new city thing work has really distracted from our ability to negotiate with the Raiders.”

The NFL and the city of Oakland have not responded to the decision made by Alameda County to pull out of the deal, however the Oakland Athletics have. Oakland owner Lew Wolff said he was not supportive of a buyout and did not think it would result in a new A’s stadium on the current site.