If you've been to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, you can't blame the Raiders for wanting a new stadium.
The three worst stadiums in the NFL are in California, with only the Vikings' Metrodome also in the conversation. If the Raiders' old home, the Los Angeles Coliseum, was still being used by the NFL it would be 4-for-4.
The Oakland Tribune reported the Raiders want a quaint, 50,000-seat stadium. That seems a bit small for a NFL team (it would be the smallest in the NFL), but only cost $800 million. The 49ers' new stadium, set to open next season, is $1.3 billion.
The problem is, the richest sports league in the world seems to be prepared to ask for $300 million in public funding to get the stadium done.
The Oakland Tribune story said the Raiders would contribute $300 million and the NFL would kick in $200 million from its stadium loan program. Some quick math leaves us with a $300 million bill for the public.
Remember the Forbes report on most valuable sports franchises? It found that of the top 50 richest sports teams in the world, 30 are in the NFL. St. Louis and Jacksonville ranked 51st and 52nd, meaning that the least valuable NFL franchise is better off than all but 20 teams from around the world. This is a business juggernaut that is unprecedented in sports history. The NFL prints money. It doesn't hurt that somehow the players have far worse contracts than Major League Baseball or the NBA.
The Raiders need a new stadium. I've been to many games there and it's not very good. A month ago a raw sewage problem forced two baseball teams to share the Raiders' clubhouse. That's not a stadium befitting of the NFL. So, yes, the Raiders need a new stadium.
Perhaps the most lucrative league in sports should be paying for the new stadium. Or, the franchise that ranked as the 50th most valuable in the world by Forbes, at $785 million. The Tribune story said poor corporate support is the reason the Raiders can't privately finance the stadium. Not enough companies and wealthy individuals buy expensive suites and club seating. That's not the taxpayers' fault, and shouldn't be their their problem either.
This isn't singling out the Raiders. No NFL team should be asking for public money. All public money towards stadiums needs to be cut off. The NFL is to blame for holding cities hostage to cough up public money under the threat of losing their team. There's a reason a NFL team hasn't been in Los Angeles since 1994, and it's not because the city doesn't have enough fans to support one.
The NFL is having the type of financial success that has never been seen in sports before. It's insulting to everyone who pays $250 for an authentic jersey, shells out for Sunday Ticket or gets suckered into paying full price for two meaningless preseason games as part of a season-ticket package for the most lucrative league in the world to be crying poor and begging for more of its money.
The Raiders need a new stadium. So figure it out, NFL.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football