Two preliminary studies — one by the City of Oakland and Alameda County, and one by the Oakland Raiders — say the feasibility of a new stadium in Oakland for the football team would be hampered by the East Bay’s lack of corporate support. The stadium project also falls short financially due to a lack of public and private development dollars, according to a presentation of early findings offered Monday to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority.
According to one of the reports, the Raiders may be able to only contribute $300 million toward a new stadium in Oakland. This figure includes a potential loan from the NFL. The total cost of a new stadium, based on similar new facilities in other cities, could be about $1 billion.
The dearth of corporate sponsorships in the East Bay has long been a concern for the NFL, the Raiders, and public officials. The Raiders perennially rank near the bottom in revenue among all NFL teams.
In March, the Coliseum Authority allocated up to $1 million to study the potential of Coliseum City. The Coliseum Authority hired the consulting firm AECOM and Front Row Marketing Services for roughly $250,000. In addition, the Raiders are also conducting their own independent study into a new stadium located in the East Bay.
David Stone of AECOM said a 50,000-seat open-air football stadium could be justified on the current Coliseum property and include 6,000 club seats and up to a 600-seat loge area. Such a facility could generate up to $60 million in annual gross revenues, Stone said. He said that similar facilities in other cities typically cost $15 million to $20 million to operate. He also added any new construction would not affect Oracle Arena.
The Raiders own study estimates that the club could raise $100 million in personal seat licenses for the cost of building the new stadium. However, PSLs turned out to be a financial debacle when the Raiders returned to Oakland in the mid-1990s that continues to cost the city and county tens of millions in debt payments each year. In addition, the NFL may not be amendable to giving the Raiders up to $200 million from its stadium loan program.
Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who has long been a supporter of the Coliseum City concept, once again played up the potential for the development to be more than just about sports, saying Monday that it could be one of the biggest public works projects in the state. “We want to make it work,” said Kaplan, “and make money for everyone.” She also urged the consultant to look outside of the box when it comes to sporting events, including international soccer events, a professional women’s soccer franchise, and an often talked about WNBA team coming to Oakland.
A small group of hardy local sports fans in attendance — including one named “Dr. Death” who dressed in full game-day regalia, including a row of silver foam daggers protruding out of a Raiders helmet — indicated a strong desire to keep the team in Oakland. “The Raiders are Oakland,” said Alameda resident Brien Dixon. “They’re kind of tied to each other and there is something bigger here than just a team. There’s a renaissance going on in Oakland right now and not having the Raiders will hurt that.”