The Tribune's Angela Woodall reports today on Oakland's latest effort to stop its hemorrhaging of sports teams. This time it's the Oakland Raiders that may be looking to Silicon Valley for a new home. As was recently revealed (but long suspected), the San Francisco 49ers have been in talks with the Raiders about the possibility of building a new joint stadium. The location of such a stadium is yet to be determined. However, the Niners seem keen to stay the course in Santa Clara, where, in 2010, voters approved $114 million in public funds. The team also recently announced $138 million in luxury box sales for their future Silicon Valley stadium. And Niners' owner Jed York believes the NFL's recent labor deal only helps his prospects in Santa Clara; with its so-called "stadium credits," the league will now set aside up to 1.5% of revenue for the construction of new stadiums.
True to form, Oakland has again shown up late to the party. Only now has the city's RDA appropriated $4 million for a coliseum design and environmental impact report (EIR). (And in case you're wondering, the city's other EIR—that of the fantasyland called Victory Court—is yet to be seen.) Of course, this will mean the involvement of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, the fine folks who triumphantly negotiated Overstock.com's recent naming rights deal. That cash cow will bring in a whopping $7 million for six years. Yes, you read that right: just $7 million for six years.
As with the San Jose stadium situation, Oakland is positioning itself to be everyone's Plan B. Woodall points out that, "if the Santa Clara deal falls apart, o.Co Coliseum could be an option for the 49ers." At this point, the Raiders seemingly prefer to stay put in Oakland, but economic realities, as well as league pressure, may force their hand.
So, where does all this leave the A's? According to Woodall:
The A's, which share the existing stadium with the Raiders may have to be factored into the plan if Major League Baseball blocks the team from moving to San Jose. Co-owner Lew Wolff reached earlier this week by telephone said he has no information about the plans. "We've seen nothing," he said. The coliseum area, he added, is a great site but a new stadium would not persuade him to stay in Oakland.
So with all these comings and goings, one thing remains the same: Oakland is as an unattractive an option for the A's as ever. The A's are ready to move on. And who could blame them?
You're up to bat, San Jose!