Monday, July 9, 2012

Options are Limited for a New Raiders-Only Stadium

Like many bay area residents living near the 580 and 680 freeways, I see a lot of traffic.  One thing impossible to also miss is how much open land is out there. The further east you go, the more vacant land you see, all with real estate broker phone numbers attached them.

Developers have long been trying to turn that land into viable commercial enterprise.  Things have been slow but now, we have some big residents moved in or about to occupy premium commercial space. Just a few short years ago the town of Livermore, CA resembled a wild west cardboard cutout – a place to stop off to water your horse. Now, Livermore is a pretty big, family friendly town, bustling even at 10PM on a Monday night.

A new high end shopping plaza is being built right off 580.  An enormous Target with parking spaces as far as the eyes can see is already there with a BJ’s Brewhouse next door.  More is planned.

What I see is plenty of room for a football stadium with surrounding commercial properties already in place.
I do know that Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has had his attention fixed on a spot in Dublin, CA to build a new stadium. He’s had this idea at least since 2008 when he mentioned it to a news reporter (one of Mark’s very few public statements prior to the death of his father Al Davis). I’m not clear where the funds are supposed to come from to build a new stadium.  That part has remained unanswered but it is no secret Mark feels Dublin, CA is the right place to build the stadium on land currently owned by NASA and the U.S. Army.  It is land not being currently used for anything. However, the Mayor of Dublin has openly and politely declined the offer to have the Raiders build in their neighborhood. The residents of Dublin would surely shoot it down if it ever went to vote.

No, money won’t talk in this instance. Dublin is far too small. Stadium traffic would cause all kinds of problems and it’s a dumpy little town anyway. There is nothing whatsoever appealing about Dublin, CA. My question is, if Mark Davis was given the green light at this Dublin, CA spot, does that mean there is a fund somewhere to build a new stadium?  Why hasn’t Mark looked at all that open space east of Dublin where cows, I mean, open land abounds?  You don’t need a city to build in if you can build between cities, right?
The advantage to an east bay location is you would easily draw the Raider Nation faithful from as far south as the central valley. To the north they would come from Sacramento and beyond.  Isn’t this what people do now anyway?  The travel to games would be even easier.

If you look at the demographics, most of the Raider Nation fans come from well outside Oakland. You are not going to lose many fans by moving out of Oakland city proper. Let’s face it, Oakland is a city in perpetual decline anyway. The endless back and forth with the city of Oakland, the County of Alameda, the red tape, all of it has led to just a lot of entanglement.  The bottom line is, the Raiders need a new stadium and it’s a real longshot for that to happen in Oakland.

I’m just brainstorming. I wouldn’t know if a stadium was even possible in all this open land, east of Oakland.  First of all, it is deadly hot out there. Second, there are all sorts of electric power and water and all sorts of building issues that would likely take a while to figure out.  If it is feasible, I would be surprised if Mark Davis has not already looked into this option. Finding a new stadium has been his priority long before he inherited the Managing General Partner role of the Oakland Raiders franchise.

If a new Los Angeles stadium is in the cards then nothing will stop that move from happening.  Whatever decision is made in that regard will be in joint concert with the NFL.  The authoritarian Roger Goodell will make sure of that.  However, the Raiders can’t rely on moving to LA.  They certainly can’t rely on the dysfunctional powers that run Oakland and the County of Alameda to build a brand new football-only complex on the same site as the existing Oakland Coliseum.  They also cannot rely on the benevolence of the San Francisco 49ers to allow them to share their swanky new home in Santa Clara, CA when that facility gets built.

We’re already sitting in traffic along the east bay freeway.  Adding Sunday traffic  in the fall would be a welcome change of pace to the view we have now of that open, somewhat green land.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Goodell has told Davis that the only way a move to L.A. could happen is if Davis sells the team, something that isn't going to happen.