Oakland Raiders on the Move?

Remember the Alamo Dome?  The stadium – somehow more decrepit than the Oakland Raiders’ current home – where the team was likely to relocate this summer?

If reports are to believed, such a move is back in the cards.  If other reports are to be believed, it remains a pipe dream.

These are the facts: The Raiders need a new stadium; Oakland cannot provide it for them; the NFL and the Raiders are off on a scattershot mission to apply leverage wherever and however possible.  The leverage typically takes the form of well-timed “leaks” to several national NFL correspondents.  The story coruscates out and the Internet ensues. 

These reports should not be taken seriously.

As Marine Layer. stadium expert, par excellence, has reported, it remains mostly hot air.  To wit, the alleged breakthrough in a stadium finance deal reported a few months back left a bit to be desired.  All that the deal required in a 90-day time span was the following:

  • Sign at least one tenant, preferably the Raiders to start
  • Engage the A’s and Warriors (even though neither team is interested)
  • Provide deliverables and reports that haven’t been completed yet (deal terms, financing, 2nd phase market analysis)
  • Bring in a master developer
  • Line up needed capital for stadium phase and ancillary development phases
  • Figure out who pays for the remaining debt at the Coliseum and Arena (if necessary)
  • Gather support of the JPA and Alameda County

Quite the the Christmas list.  And all I asked for was a Silver and Black sweater.

Here’s the thing.  It is impossible to know what to believe and what to discard at this point.  If the Raiders were legitimately seeking suitor cities, they would act the way that they have.  And if they were simply bluffing to exert pressure, they would act in the exact same way.

It is entirely understandable that the team and the NFL would like to relocate to a bigger market (LA), or at least one willing and able to expend the capital required to sustain a pro football franchise (possibly SA).  Moreover, with the Raiders’ winless season moving into its eighth consecutive week, why not begin to look ahead to the future?

The fact remains the same.  It’s hard not to be skeptical of machinations behind the scenes.  Thus far, everyone – the politicians, the team, the league, the reporters – has said just enough  to keep a straight face.  After years of negotiation and speculation, an actual deal is still fleeting.

But hey, at least Mark Davis got a nice meal out of it.