NFL Owners Meeting Dallas Preview, Oakland Raiders Coliseum City Update
The NFL will hold its special ‘one day’ Owners Meeting this Wednesday, December 2nd at the Four Seasons Dallas Resort at Las Colinas, which is really Irving, Texas. What is neat about the venue is its proximity to DFW International Airport, as well as the fact that it’s the kind of luxurious digs the NFL Owners prefer, even if it’s for a short stay. All the better to continue the matter of pondering the NFL’s future in Los Angeles.
The last time we met was in New York City, and for the special presentations by the leaders of Oakland, San Diego, and St. Louis. That seemed like yesterday; now the Dallas meeting is more of a formality, and to determine the timetable for the application of intent to relocate to Los Angeles and for the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, and St. Louis Rams. While no decisions will be made, it’s one more place where the NFL Family can gather and talk – and those discussions are at times as valuable as the decisions.
While the NFL Owners talk LA timetables on Wednesday, it’s important to set the stage by checking in on where each home city is, starting with Oakland.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf scored points with her presentation to the NFL in New York, but now she’s got to deliver a stadium, so she’s on the clock more than ever. She realizes the entry of Disney Chairman Robert Iger has meaning only if Oakland does nothing. To that end, a new version of the Raiders stadium proposal is being readied – this one will feature a $200 million lease revenue bond issue.
No, it’s not the Industrial Development Bond approach I have called for, and for months, and that’s because this group of geniuses insists on reinventing the wheel. If I sound salty and derisive of the plan, I am, and it’s because I have ran the numbers, and know this stadium deal can be done without a commitment of public money. It would be really nice if Mayor Schaaf would get tough, call all of us into one big series of meetings, and let us battle it out, plan for plan.
The political hangup in the $200 million lease revenue bond issue version of Coliseum City (no, that’s not a mis-print, the total deal is for about $1 billion, but that’s the city’s share) is who will be the backstop: City, County, or Raiders. Mayor Schaaf wants it to be the Oakland Raiders and not the City of Oakland (the question is, will the City Council out-vote her, but I doubt it), but that kind of game of determining who holds the hot potato shows how little real analysis is being done. It’s why a task force format is better, and also is a good reason why us fans should just grab the bull by the horns and form our own group, and then sell it to the Raiders ourselves. I say that, because the answer is to form another legal entity and have that organization be the holder of the mortgage note for that portion of the Coliseum that’s valued at $200 million. Thus, if the bond issue goes into default, the bond trustee winds up owning that part of the Coliseum and not the public entities.
Also, this whole Oakland deal is without a stadium developer, and that brings me to my next bombshell to come: I know of a San Francisco developer who wants to do this, and has worked with the National Football League at a very high level, as well as having carved out a reputation as a doer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He knows all of the politicians, and knows Oakland, too. When I mention the name, those who know will slap their heads and say “Of course! Let’s bring him in.” This person would be the perfect Oakland counter to Carmen Policy and Robert Iger in Carson. I’ll save mention of that person for later. Now, let’s look at San Diego and its Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Mayor Faulconer is my bet to be one part of the whole that wins this whole horse race and that’s because he’s purely aggressive. On November 20th, the Mayor announced he was meeting with Kansas City Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt, and to present his stadium plan and answer any questions. And his staff is putting what he calls “the finishing touches” on the Mission Valley environmental impact report. The problem is the one piece of the puzzle Faulconer needs is not there, and that’s the San Diego Chargers. The Bolts continue to avoid meeting with the Mayor, unlike Oakland. Why the Chargers have adopted this litigation-inviting strategy is beyond me, but they’re working it to death.