June 21 Could be Drop Dead Date for Raiders in Oakland

By Vincent Frank

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis spoke in-depth regarding the team’s stadium situation with ESPN’s John Clayton last week. Among the wide array of topics discussed was the viability of building a new stadium in Oakland.

With the current trend pointing to the Raiders relocating to Los Angeles in time for the 2016 season, Davis didn’t do a whole lot to quiet the belief that the Raiders are on the verge of playing their last season in Oakland.

One specific comment stands out above the rest:

“What the city and county have done is they’ve given an exclusive negotiating agreement to a company run by a guy by the name of Floyd Kephart,” Davis said, h/t Raiders.com. “They are attempting to come up with that $400 million gap through some type of a real estate development deal. By June 21, they’re supposed to come with a financing plan to the city and the county and then to us. We’ll see if it’s a doable deal or not. We’re hoping that it is.”

This seems like a last-ditch effort by the powers to be in Oakland, including the Raiders’ organization, to get something done before all focus turns to the Carson stadium project—a project that was jointly entered into by the San Diego Chargers and is seen as viable by the NFL.

Anyone with an understanding of local Oakland politics, especially relating to the stadium issues, knows full well that coming up with a $400 million financing plan to pass through both the city of Oakland and county of Alameda is unlikely to get anywhere. Enter into the equation a real estate development deal to help bankroll the gap in funds, and it becomes even more convoluted.

If this effort is blocked by any of the three parties involved, the Raiders will then have to likely make the decision to move on from Oakland as a potential long-term home. With the St. Louis Rams stadium project in Inglewood months away from breaking ground, there is a sense of urgency here for the Raiders. That’s only magnified by the January timeline for teams to file relocation paperwork with the league.

Davis also pointed to something else that could be a major issue if the Raiders are to somehow find a viable stadium project in Oakland:

“I would like for, if possible, the Raiders and the A’s to stay on that site and that the Raiders and A’s vacate the Coliseum for the next two or three years. We build a brand new football stadium and a brand new baseball stadium on the site and then we’d come back and begin playing in two brand new stadiums without construction going on around us, in brand new stadiums.”

Talk about unrealistic. There is no way the A’s agree to this type of plan. They are locked in on a 10-year lease agreement with O.co. More than that, where would these two teams play for the two-plus years it would take to build to multi-stadium complex? This doesn’t even take into account Oracle Arena, the home of the Golden State Warriors. While that team is planning on building a new arena in San Francisco, there is no concrete timeline for construction to even begin on a potential new venue. This would leave three professional sports teams looking for temporary digs in Northern California for 2-3 years. That’s just not reasonable.

All said, Davis opened up big time to the ESPN scribe. However, he did very little to throw water on the fire here. Unless something comes to fruition in the next three weeks, it becomes inevitable that the Raiders will be relocating to Southern California. Based on Davis’ comments, you can almost take that to the bank.

Photo: USA Today Sports