There have been endless conversations, many reported on TV or in newspapers, on the desire of Raiders owner Mark Davis to get a new stadium. Nowhere in any of this is any suggestion that the Raiders would pay for the stadium or even part of it, which is why it will never get done.
The NFL has a program which encourages teams to get public participation in their stadiums through a program which ďlendsĒ money to teams which secure a public involvement. The money is paid back with the visitorís share of tickets sold so itís really a gift to the team building the stadium.
Thatís why the 49ers worked so hard to get Santa Clara involved in their stadium. Santa Clara officials are already wondering about that deal because the 49ers have not been good neighbors. Wait until the Super Bowl is held there and Santa Clara gets stuck with huge cleanup bills and costs for extra police while all the best parties are held in San Francisco.
And, the TV shots will continue to be the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower, both Santa Clara landmarks, of course.
But, I digress. Mark Davis really has no options. It would be stupid to move to that new stadium in Carson. Most of the Raiders fans from their time in Los Angeles are in jail. The Carson people obviously have no idea how NFL teams operate. The Chargers used that option to pressure San Diego to build a new stadium for them. If there are any fans who want to bring a team which is coming off 10 straight losing seasons to Carson, their voices have been very muted.
But in Oakland, the Raiders have a very loyal fan base, one which has created sellouts even while the team was losing. It isnít just noise, either, but the strong bond these fans feel. They are enthusiastic about spreading the word on social media.
They never had this kind of fan base in Los Angeles. I talked to the ticket manager on a couple of occasions and the answer was always the same: They had about 30,000 season ticket holders and thatís what they drew for most games. For the big games, attendance would swell to 90,000 but overall, they were drawing less than the Raiders had drawn in what was than a 52,000-seat stadium in Oakland.
To get them back in 1994, Oakland and Alameda County residents agreed to an added tax which we (I live in Oakland) are still paying. Thatís the reason there wonít be any public money for a new stadium.
There is one solution: Build a new park for the Aís on that site. It would have to be privately financed because Aís owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher only play with other peopleís money, but a baseball park can be built for perhaps 40 per cent of what it takes for a football stadium. There were Oakland businessmen willing to pay for a new park at Jack London Square, so perhaps theyíd be willing to pay for this one.
Mark Davisís objection to the current stadium is that they play too many games with a dirt infield. Under former commissioner Bud Selig, that game was expanded so much that it will go into November this year! I hope they donít get snowed out.
If the Raiders didnít have to share the Coliseum, it would work fine for them. It doesnít have the fancy boxes of the new stadiums but thatís not what Raiders fans want, anyway.
What do YOU think? Let me know!
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