If you build it, they will come. Wish the same could be said for the city of Oakland.
Their ‘Field of Dreams’ at the Oakland Coliseum has turned into a nightmare for Raider Nation.
The Oakland Raiders are leaving the East Bay a second time. It’s really happening.
On Monday, 31 of 32 NFL owners gave the okay for the Raiders to move to Las Vegas, according to ESPN. The Miami Dolphins were the only team that wanted to keep the Raiders away from Sin City.
“My position today was that we as owners and as a league owe it to the fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted. I want to wish Mark Davis and the Raiders organization the best in Las Vegas,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement.
The city of Oakland did everything they could to keep the Raiders in town. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city had presented a $1.3 billion plan for a stadium on the Coliseum site that would be open by 2021, USA TODAY reported. A third-party investment group would have fronted most of the money through a loan, with the NFL and Raiders committing $500 million. She even asked NFL voters to delay their vote to consider the plan, but they all had their eyes on Las Vegas.
And here’s where it gets awkward. They still have to build that $1.9 billion, 65,000 seat domed stadium in Las Vegas; it’s not expected to be ready until 2020.
Imagine living with your ex for another two years after you broke up. How awkward is that?
The Raiders are leaving, but Oakland is stuck with them for two lame-duck seasons. Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN the team holds two, one-year options at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA,” Davis said in a statement. “We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
Davis said he would also be open to staying for the 2019 season, but the city of Oakland sure isn’t.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority executive director Scott McKibben told USA TODAY sports that they wouldn’t be able to stomach a third season of Raiders football.
For now, the 2019 season is in limbo.They could always play at UNLV’s luxurious 35,000 seat Sam Boyd Stadium (that was a joke). At this point, the city of Oakland is already trying to show the Raiders the door.
According to KGO-TV in San Francisco, Oakland City Council President Larry Reid met with lawyers to see if they could immediately kick the raiders out of the Coliseum, but told KGO-TV he didn’t think there was anything he could do to stop them from staying.
The Raiders certainly aren’t doing their fans any more favors, offering season ticket holders the option to put down $100 toward the new stadium in Las Vegas. Really?
The reality is it always comes down to money. The reality is the Oakland Raiders weren’t profitable while playing at the Coliseum. Sure, not winning doesn’t help, but it came with a loyal fan base nonetheless.
For NFL owners, it’s about following the money, and thanks to relocation fees, NFL owners have a vested interest in helping teams move. It may be why three teams have moved in a little over a year.
The NFL charges a fee to any franchise that relocates. The relocation fee is then split among the other 31 teams. According to Yahoo Sports, the fee for the Rams and Chargers’ move was $650 million. The Raiders’ move will cost less—somewhere between $325 and $375 million. Add that all up, and each team is expected to get $53 million, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. The money is for the owners, and owners only; relocation fees aren’t part of shared revenue that is split amongst the players.
Sorry Raider Nation. You can forget the late Al Davis’ motto, “Just win, baby.” For the second time, it’s “Just move, baby,” and it’s going to be at least two years from now.