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08 September 2008

Raiders revisited

Chris Thompson of the East Bay Express has a lengthy piece on the Raiders' past and possible future in (and out) of Oakland. While the article doesn't draw any specific conclusions on the Raiders' stay in Oakland, their future there appears to be only slightly above bleak.

Last January I posited an idea that the Coliseum, once the A's moved out, could be renovated to become a properly updated (new) NFL facility. Considering the cost of a brand new stadium ($800 million or more and rising every year), renovation is not an idea that should be dismissed too quickly.

I mentioned in my previous post on this subject that the EIR process could be shortened thanks to the existing use of the stadium. However, there are challenges for a renovation. Let's start with a timeline, assuming the A's move into Cisco Field in 2012.
  • September 2011 - Raiders begin final season in "old" Coliseum
  • October 2011 - A's play final game
  • December 2011 - Raiders play final game
  • January 2012 - Renovation begins
  • August 2012 - Raiders begin playing in temporary facility
  • August 2013 - Raiders begin playing in completed, renovated Coliseum
The plan would be somewhat like the construction of Mt. Davis, except that everything else around Mt. Davis would be torn down and rebuilt. There may even be a chance that the Raiders could play the 2012 season in a partly finished Coliseum. I'll explain this later.
Building anything on the current Coliseum footprint is challenging due to the shared nature of the venues. The plaza between the arena and stadium is not particularly wide and underneath it is a vast amount of back-of-the-house facilities. There's the old Exhibit Hall, part of which is now used as the Raiders' locker room. VIP and player parking flanks the plaza. Anything new would have to minimize disturbance of the plaza and the arena.

When Mt. Davis was built, the existing plaza's utility was maintained. The lower deck of Mt. Davis has a handful of risers and seats. Most of it was left blank to accommodate the baseball field. Football seats on portable sections are brought in before games. This situation misses out on a large amount of potentially available space. Thus, the first move would be to place permanent seats in the lower deck and build it out underneath. Locker rooms and supporting facilities could all be stashed underneath.

Next, start tearing down the old Coliseum, sections x01-x10 and x24-x33. The recent trend among football stadia is to minimize the number of end zone seats, so building one deck of new infill seating sections in each end zone should not be difficult. Suites and club sections would not be necessary and would be suboptimal anyway.

That leaves the last part of the original bowl, sections x11-x23. These contain the West Side Club, press box, A's clubhouse, and additional functions. In this case, pull out all of the lower level seats. They're too low and not pitched enough for football, so they desperately need replacing. Then start building in permanent lower level seats, like the ones put in to finish Mt. Davis. It'll take some work to "connect" them to the existing concourse but it can be done. The concrete supports for the upper levels, which are built into the vomitories, would have to be preserved.

This is where the timeline could be split. With the new seating sections in place, the Raiders might be able to play 2012 in the partly upgraded stadium. During the next offseason, the remainder of the renovations could begin. The issue there is the structural work that will be required. If it's lengthy (cast in situ concrete) then there's no way 2012 could be played there. If not it the split schedule might work. The upper decks would be removed and replaced with two levels of suites with press box, a full-length club level, and a large upper deck (like Mt. Davis but not as tall).

The cost? Well, the land's already paid for. There's demo and some new foundation work, but far less than would be expected for a new stadium. Wild guess is $500 million, far cheaper than a new place, yet with all of the location advantages and volume parking that come with the Coliseum.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

It seems like the author of the article dismisses the possibility of the Raiders moving back to Los Angeles a bit to cavalierly.

The Raiders have never given a fig as to whether or not something benefits the NFL as a whole, and the the crux of the author's argument is that the NFL as a whole prefers a vacant Los Angeles Market.

The thing that (sadly) seals it in my mind (that the move back south is a done deal) is that the Raiders have never been able to sell all of their Luxury Suites since they've been in Oakland.

They will have no problem doing that in Los Angeles, with the myriad of corporate/mogul types down there, and Luxury Suite revenues do not have to be shared with the rest of the league as other revenues are.

I want them to stay. I cried when they left for LA in 1982. When they moved back in 95, I thought that the lease seemed to be a bit short, and here we are....

God, I hope I'm wrong...

Zonis said...

So Oakland could very soon find themselves losing their MLB team and their NFL team...

At least they still have the Warriors, right?

Anonymous said...

The A's are leaving Oakland.

As soon as Al "Commitment to egg salad" Davis finds a new city to line his pockets, the Raiders will be gone.

Seattle is looking for an NBA franchise.

Will we have a trifecta?

LeAndre said...

I'm glad you covered this ML, because I thought that was a really interesting article the East Bay Express did...the future of the Raiders beyond 2010 isn't far away and yet it isn't talked about that much...

Personally I hope and think the Raiders will stay in Oakland...There's only one realistic destination they can end up and thats LA...and I don't think the new LA stadium will be finished by 2010...theres still a possibility it might not be built...

I've also been hearing rumors from other blogs that Mark Davis has been meeting with the city of Oakland every month since April discussing stadium plans...

I hope they work something out with the Oracle Arena so they can build a new stadium, in all black (my dream stadium for the Raiders) because I, and I don't think I'm alone here, am completely fed up with McAfee...Its time to stop trying to recycle the same old stadiums...

FC said...

ML,

This appeared in the Matier and Ross column this morning.

With three seasons to go on their lease at the Coliseum, the Oakland Raiders are once again putting the team's future in play.

This time around, the team wants locals to turn the area around the Coliseum into a full-fledged retail and entertainment district -complete with a new, football-only stadium.

"We need to find a way to revitalize the area," Raiders chief executive Amy Trask said on the eve of the team's season opener Monday night in Oakland against the Denver Broncos.

"What we have suggested is not just a stadium, but something to bring business enterprise and activity to a part of the community that needs it," Trask said.

The team's call for a new home comes just as the Oakland A's, who share the stadium with the Raiders, are laying tracks for a move to Fremont.

The Raiders want Oakland and Alameda County - which are still on the hook to the tune of $22 million a year for the 1995 rebuild of the stadium and subsequent makeover of the Coliseum arena - to help finance the dream plan.

Whatever plan that might turn out to be.

"It has to be what the NFL describes as a public-private partnership," Trask said.

"Our job is to try to put together a deal so the Raiders will stay," said Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, who chairs the city-county Coliseum Authority and was heavily involved in the team's return from Los Angeles 13 years ago. "We are having good discussions, and that's as far as I'm going to go."

Experts say the team has little chance of returning anytime soon to L.A. or finding a new home in oft-mentioned Las Vegas or San Antonio, Texas.

The Raiders have floated the idea of a move through the Caldecott Tunnel to Dublin - or even sharing a new stadium with the 49ers - but with little effect.

Hence, with their lease winding down - and the city and county already agreeing to extend the A's contract at the Coliseum for up to three years, through 2013 - Al Davis & Co. appear determined to play the hand they've been dealt.

Meanwhile: In the South Bay, the future of the 49ers' plans for a stadium next to the Great America amusement park still hangs in the air - with no quick resolution in sight.

Hopes for a November ballot initiative in Santa Clara to help finance an $800 million stadium there faded after the city and 49ers failed to meet a July deadline for putting a deal together.

So far, Cedar Fair, which owns Great America, has resisted offers by the Niners to allow a stadium to be built on the amusement park's parking lot, or even on a neighboring overflow lot.

If a deal can't be reached, the 49ers have said they may be willing to buy Great America from the company, which leases the amusement park site from the city. But the question is, at what cost?

Cedar Fair reportedly has pegged the park's value at upward of $110 million - well above what the Niners say it's worth.

"At this point, the ball is in (the Niners') court," said Cedar Fair spokeswoman Staci Frole.

In the meantime, the folks at Great America say they have something other than football on their minds this fall - they're turning the place into a haunted theme park, complete with monsters in the midway, just in time for Halloween.

http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/matierandross/

Anonymous said...

The city of Oakland should have known better. You deal with Al Davis and you're going to get screwed. The other side of that coin is the fact that everyone knows this, so no other city wants to deal with him either. I'm sure he'd like to move to LA, but there is no chance anyone down there will bend over for him like Oakland did. I expect the status quo until Al finally kicks the bucket. Then things will get interesting.

Anonymous said...

Leandre,

Can you link some of the blogs you mentioned?

Thanks!

LeAndre said...

here's one...
http://nfldraftmag.blogspot.com/2008/05/oakland-to-get-new-stadium-for-raiders.html

...no reason to get too excited though, they're only rumors.

Anonymous said...

Despite the frequent cynicism of the issue on the Raiders possibly leaving, there is an effort by both the team and the county to get something done. These articles mention either a remodeled Mcafee for football or even a brand new stadium. Either way the Raiders are trying to make it happen in the East Bay.