Bay Area Raiders future growing cloudy

Oakland’s best shot at keeping the Raiders in town for the extended future weighed heavily on the moves made by the city of San Diego, and the Chargers.

Now, according to the San Diego Union Tribune, the Chargers are making a push to build a stadium in their home market, and making a reasonable proposal at the same time. Which means that the Raiders option to move to Los Angeles could be picked up following the 2016 season.

A plan has been laid out by team and local officials, hinging on a four-percent hotel tax raise to be voted on by San Diego residents in November, which would make the plan a reality.

The team would cover $650 million of the cost to build the $1 billion stadium, with an $800 million convention center adjoining. That would put the city of San Diego on the hook for a bit over $1 billion, while not adversely affecting too many of the area’s taxpayers.

If the Chargers’ plan goes through, then the Raiders would be able to move to Los Angeles, joining the Rams.

The Raiders currently pay more $3 million per year to play at O.co Coliseum, and have been dueling with the city of Oakland and Alameda County for the better part of a decade to build a new park.

Former Mayor Jean Quan was unable to convince other city and county officials to put enough money towards a project. Current Mayor Libby Schaff has pledged to spend on infrastructure, but not invest taxpayer money into the stadium itself.

The 49ers built Levi’s Stadium as a self-financed project, with help from Santa Clara County, who supplied the land to build on. The Raiders have no such plot in Oakland at this time.

The 49ers financed their stadium using season ticket licenses fees, naming rights, and advertising revenue, which paid for the vast majority of the project.

The Raiders could do the same thing, though Mark Davis has made it clear that he wants to keep the team’s fanbase whole — in other words, not force an $80,000 per seat tax on fans wanting to purchase tickets in premium seating areas.

Which is exactly what the 49ers did, sending the die-hards away while collecting Silicon Valley’s finest, who seem to enjoy the comfort of indoor seats anyway, if the television shots of the stands during the second quarter are telling.

Davis has been adamant his first hope is to remain in Oakland, but the time has come to look at every option. Los Angeles is quickly becoming more of a realistic option with every passing month.


Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.