Oakland officials say they will not contribute any taxpayer dollars toward building a new stadium for the Raiders, even if that means the team will move back to Los Angeles.
Although Raiders owner Mark Davis and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have yet to receive an official response from either Oakland or Alameda County as to whether they would provide the $400 million necessary to keep the team in Oakland, recent statements by elected officials suggest the money may not be forthcoming, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Their reluctance seems to stem primarily from Oakland’s previous experience with stadium subsidies, which were used to finance renovations of O.co Coliseum that helped lure the Raiders back to Oakland in 1995. The team had previously moved to Los Angeles in 1982 after Oakland refused to make stadium upgrades demanded by then-owner Al Davis.
The city and county are still paying millions of dollars per year for that $200 million project, and are projected to remain on the hook for payments until 2026, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“That money we’re paying now is general-fund money we could spend on police, parks, or libraries,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told The Chronicle, adding that she could not support additional subsidies, particularly since the city is facing an $18 million budget shortfall this year.
O.co Coliseum, where the Raiders play, is owned jointly by the city and the county, both of which would need to sign off on any plan to replace the existing stadium with a new one at the same location. County officials, however, have shown no greater interest in financing such a project than Schaaf has.
“If my income has gone down, and my housing costs have gone up, it doesn’t make sense for me to go out and buy a new car,” Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson told The Chronicle, adding that the idea would be particularly foolish “if I’m paying an existing car note.”
Nonetheless, Oakland faces significant pressure to work out a deal with the Raiders in light of Schaaf’s pledge that she would “fight like hell” to keep the team from relocating.
In April, the Raiders received preliminary approval for a proposed $1.7 billion stadium in Los Angeles, which would be shared with the San Diego Chargers. Although the stadium would be financed entirely with private money, both teams anticipate that moving to LA’s much-larger market would prove far more lucrative over the long term than staying put.
Unlike Schaaf, San Diego Mayor Ken Faulconer was spurred to action by the threat of relocation. Last week, Faulconer reversed the city’s long-standing disavowal of stadium subsidies with an offer to provide $600 million in public financing for a new, $1.1 billion stadium in San Diego.
Raiders owner Mark Davis recently indicated that he might be willing to shelve the LA stadium plans if a similar offer were forthcoming from Oakland. Speaking to reporters after last week’s annual owners meetings, Davis urged fans to “Let the people at the city and county know what you want done.”
“You’ve got a willing partner here,” Davis added. “But you’ve got to do it quick, man, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
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