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Will Stadium Dispute Bring Raiders Back to Los Angeles?
Part of the new 10-year NFL labor deal included discussions between the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers about sharing the use of a proposed stadium. There is no stadium yet, but the teams have agreed to work together and to share a new facility to be built in the future.
As a Raider fan who lives in Los Angeles, I want to see the team come back. I'm happy to see the plans to build an NFL stadium called Farmers Field in downtown Los Angeles are moving forward and I have a good feeling the Raiders will end up being the team to play there.
Modern NFL teams rely on modern stadiums to help wring every possible dollar of revenue from professional football games. They allow for luxury boxes, more levels of expensive seats, room for food courts, shopping areas and other things that make owners money. They offer more seats and multiple uses so the stadium can earn revenue on days other than when it hosts NFL games. Neither the Raiders nor the 49ers play in a modern stadium.
The Raiders have played in Oakland Stadium since 1966 and owner Al Davis wants a new stadium built on the site of the existing one, but has had little luck making that happen in cash-strapped Oakland. The 49ers have played at San Francisco's Candlestick Park since 1971, but have made an agreement to play in a to-be-built stadium in Santa Clara, a wealthy city in Silicon Valley about an hour from San Francisco. The plan, approved by the city in June 2010, doesn't start construction until 2013 to be open for the 2015 NFL season. Financing issues remain and some public money may be involved, leading me to believe it will never happen.
Los Angeles is preparing for a team, with the approval and first steps towards the building of a new stadium in downtown Los Angeles, an extended part of the LA Live complex which includes the Staples Center and Los Angeles Convention Center. That plan would also bring the field into operation for the 2015 season. The project, expected to cost $1 billion, is completely privately funded, with no public debt to the city of Los Angeles. A memo was issued officially by the city on July 25 backing the stadium plan.
I think Oakland owner Al Davis is a tough negotiator and I have a feeling he's not going to want to share anything. I think, given the fanbase and hunger for a team in LA, the powers behind the new Farmers Field will make Davis an offer he can't refuse, financially speaking.
No team has yet been identified with the stadium. I live Downtown and walk to Lakers games and to LA Live from my loft, I can't wait to be able to walk over to Farmers Field join my fellow citizens of Raider Nation for Raider home games.
Although born and raised with Eagles fans in Philadelphia, F. Michael 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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