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Mark Davis Might Move Raiders to Los Angeles: Fan’s Opinion
Only months after the passing of his iconic father, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has suddenly taken the bull by the horns and is making some big moves. He shocked the Raider Nation when he confirmed a move to Los Angeles has been discussed and that the team is "trying to get something done up here" (meaning Northern California). But if they can't he thinks the team has "got to get something done somewhere because we need to be able to compete." I agree and the two proposed NFL stadium projects here in Los Angeles are just waiting for him to say yes.
After the team's uneven play, disappointing season-ending loss and lack of post-season play, Davis made a great move and hired former Green Bay Packers executive Reggie McKenzie to be the GM, a position that didn't even exist under long-time owner Al Davis. Davis handled those duties himself.
On his first day on the job, McKenzie fired coach Hue Jackson and at the news conference announcing all the changes, Mark Davis made some strong statements about the Raiders' stadium problems and the possibility of moving the team to Los Angeles. He brought up the key point, the team needs a new stadium to generate a competitive amount of revenue, to be able to get good players. New stadiums provide teams with more income, through luxury boxes, additional rent-able retail space, more concessions and sponsorship.
Here are the options available to the Raiders, as this fan sees them:
Renovate the existing stadium
The O.co Coliseum, which opened in 1966 is an old facility. The team renewed its lease in November 2009, which now expires at the end of the 2013 season. During the press conference on January 10, Davis confirmed the team has talked about a new stadium in Oakland, but to me, nothing seems to be happening.
Share a stadium with the San Francisco 49ers
Another option the team has is to share a facility with their Northern California neighbors, the 49ers. This is a realistic possibility as the 49ers seem to be moving forward with a project in Santa Clara, a city near both Oakland and San Francisco. Davis confirmed that the team had discussions about sharing a stadium, but his lack of enthusiasm or serious endorsement shows me it's far from a done deal.
Move to Los Angeles
The team already has a strong fanbase here who would welcome their return. The team played here from 1982-1994, then left for the same reason, they could not get a new stadium built and Al Davis was unwilling to share a potential new one.
Currently, there are two football stadium projects competing for a team, the poorly planned Farmers Field proposal and the Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing project, which I think is the better idea of the two. Having these two competing proposals will drive up the price Davis can command, while driving down the share of the team he must give up. Both projects are already financed, but need a team to proceed with construction. Davis confirmed he has had discussions with the stadium developers but "hasn't received an offer he likes."
I think the move is a very realistic possibility. I don't see the economically strapped city of Oakland doing anything to build a new stadium and that government participation is necessary. Even if they issue bonds, it's still debt and the taxpayers won't stand for it. Given the offers Davis is probably receiving from both stadium projects in Los Angeles, I don't see how a shared stadium with the 49ers could compete with a move to Los Angeles.
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, Freddy Sherman has always been a citizen of Raider Nation at heart. Since his dad got him a signed George Blanda football as child, to meeting Lyle Alzado in the 1980s, he hasn't looked back. Follow him on twitter @thefredsherman
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