Here are the key details to remember about the new Raiders stadium deal in Oakland.
There is no deal.
There is no stadium.
There are no Raiders.
Oakland? Yeah. Oakland, you got.
But that’s it. Just Oakland. What was announced Tuesday was “the framework” of a deal to allow a group fronted by former 49er and Raider Ronnie Lott to negotiate a land use deal for the Coliseum parcel that currently holds the homes of the Athletics, Raiders and Warriors, in alphabetical order.
Not an actual deal, mind you, with paperwork and numbers and addenda and legal arglebargle, but merely a basis for negotiations in which the details by which the city of Oakland and Alameda County turn over the grounds to what we will call The Lott Group for simplicity’s sake. The real dealmakers here are Wes Edens and Randy Nardone of Fortress Investment, in case this ever comes to something you need to care about, okay?
So that’s your deal – a promise to talk about a deal.
The Raiders? Not involved. As in, not even talking to city or Fortress officials. Mark Davis is so focused on Las Vegas as his team’s future home that he went out of his way to call Nevada governor Brian Sandoval to reassure him that he still wants the Vegas deal.
And without the Raiders, there is no reason to build a stadium . . . unless the Athletics, the fourth stick in this unicycle's spokes, suddenly fall out of love with the Howard Terminal site they overthrew their front office structure to promote and decide they’ll stay put at the Coliseum as long as the Raiders leave.
In other words, your Raiders stadium deal, which militantly underinformed media members will breathlessly tell is in fact a Raiders stadium deal, is no such thing, and won’t be until the conditions that we have always told you needed to be met were met.
And those are, you of short attention spans ask?
One, the Raiders have to fail on Vegas. This can happen one of two ways. Either eight or more of the remaining 31 NFL owners can withhold approval for Davis to move, or his stadium financing plan ($750 million from the state, already earmarked, $650 million from casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who is sounding hinky about the deal, and $500 million from Davis, the NFL and other sources) collapses.
Two, having failed in Nevada, the Raiders either watch the San Diego Chargers exercise their option on the Inglewood deal currently being run by Stan Kroenke and the Los Angeles Rams, or the Chargers pass on the option and leave it for Davis to exercise instead.
Or three, Davis pulls out of both on his own, fearing that he will be forced to give up operational control of the team in Las Vegas and be fearful of being fiendishly squeezed by Landlord Kroenke until his eyes shoot across the convention center.
At that point, if Oakland and the Lott/Fortress people can come to an agreement, you might have a deal that involves a stadium and the Raiders.
That stadium is considered by most experts, including Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, to run in the neighborhood of $1 billion, with the city and county’s contribution limited to infrastructure improvements that are loosely estimated now at around $190 million, to be generated by some new tax or taxes as opposed to access to the general fund.
The $1B would be well within Fortress’ pain threshold, if you buy their $70.2 billion portfolio as gospel. But rumors that Fortress would want a piece of the Raiders would probably produce an issue with Davis that would likely wreck the deal before it became a deal. Sources say the Fortress people know that this problem exists, but the matter of how they resolve it is yet one more gear that needs to be oiled.
But that’s still months away – four, if you assume a March meeting by the NFL owners to tackle the Raiders issue, and maybe more if they choose, as they often do, to kick the can down the road to await more political intrigue.
Today, though, the Raiders stadium deal in Oakland looks sweet – as long as you don’t mind three of the four components being totally absent.