Update 2:30 PM: By coincidence, today was the day Scott McKibben's appointment as Executive Director of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority became official. McKibben's a former publisher of ANG Newspapers and the former executive director of the Rose Bowl. In his newspaper days, he was part of a group that tried to buy the Oakland A’s in 1999 – a group headed by Andy Dolich and Bob Piccinini that planned to build a new downtown stadium. MLB never took action on the bid; many longtime A’s fans are still mourning that lost opportunity. McKibben also chaired Oakland’s Super Bowl bid in 2001 – it was one of three finalists for the game, which ended up going to Jacksonville.
McKibben met briefly with reporters after the Coliseum board appointed him. Here’s some of what he said:
“I think the Raiders, with the uncertainty of not having a permanent stadium plan in place here, are merely doing good management, due diligence, they're setting themselves up with some other options if we can't get something worked out here. But I'm confident, I believe that when all's said and done that we're going to be able to come to some sort of a resolution that works for everybody. Without question, (Raiders owner) Mark Davis would rather stay in Oakland, as would his senior management team, and we're going to do everything we can to try and move that ball forward.”
McKibben has a meeting on Tuesday morning with Raiders leadership to "hear their view of the world. What does your idea of a venue and a deal look like? And then I have to sit down and do my homework on, okay, where are we at, what are our resources? And it's at that point that I think everyone starts realizing we've got to start moving to the middle.” (McKibben plans a similar meeting with A's ownership in the next week or two, possibly at their new spring training facility in Arizona.)
“Moving franchises is not easy and it’s not something owners like to do. There are branding issues, sponsorship issues, relocation issues. Going in and sharing a market that hasn’t had an NFL team in 20 years, and then having to split it with somebody else – is it an option? Yes. But I think the one they really want is to be here (in Oakland), and we’re hoping we can accommodate them. I believe ownership of the Raiders – and the A’s – really does want to be in this market.”
“I think there’s a consensus in the country today that direct public funding going to athletic facilities is something they frown on. However, there are a lot of other ways you can gather resources that can be financially acceptable to a sports franchise, anything from land, to game day expenses, the opportunity for other revenue-sharing arrangements. Financing, in the more holistic sense – there’s multiple ways that can be achieved other than direct bonding or financing.”
Like other Oakland officials, McKibben says he’s not writing off the Golden State Warriors yet, despite their plan to move to San Francisco. “We’re going to do everything we can to serve the needs of the Warriors and their fan base, with the idea in mind that if for some reason this deal in San Francisco doesn’t get done to their satisfaction, we are open for business to talk about a longterm arrangement.”
What does he envision for the Coliseum site in ten years’ time? “I would hope that we would have a world-class venue for the Oakland Raiders and another for the Oakland A’s. We want these teams to remain in Oakland and we want to be part of a team that provides them the kind of venues they need to succeed in their business long-term. This is a good sports market, this is a good media market, this is a good television market, this is a good sponsorship market. Compared to a lot of cities that have NFL and NBA and MLB franchises, this is a really strong market.”
Original Post: We're not sure who saw this coming, but it's a real thing: The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have announced they're working on a proposal for a stadium in the Los Angeles County town of Carson, 15 miles south of downtown L.A.
In a statement released last night, both teams said they hoped to stay in their current hometowns -- where both have encountered trouble working out a deal for new stadiums. The teams said they'd work this year to try to get agreements for new facilities in Oakland and San Diego while pursuing the Carson stadium on a separate track. Some details on the teams' proposal via the Los Angeles Times, which broke the story Thursday evening:
The teams are working with “Carson2gether,” a group of business and labor leaders. The coalition will announce the project Friday at a news conference near the 168-acre site, a parcel at the southwest quadrant of the intersection of the 405 Freeway and Del Amo Boulevard.
They plan to immediately launch a petition drive for a ballot initiative to get voter approval to build the stadium.
This latest high-stakes move was precipitated by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who announced in January his plan to build an 80,000-seat stadium on the land that used to be Hollywood Park.
That put pressure on the Chargers, who say 25% of their fan base is in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The Raiders, among the most financially strapped NFL teams, joined forces with the Chargers because they don't have the money build a stadium on their own.
The Jets and the Giants, who both play in East Rutherford, N.J., are the only NFL teams playing in the same stadium.
And here's the Times again on the reaction to the news in San Diego:
In San Diego, which appointed a nine-member committee last month to recommend a new stadium site for the Chargers, civic leaders were particularly dismayed.
"It's now abundantly clear that while we have been working here in San Diego to create a plan for a new stadium, the Chargers have for some time been making their own plans for moving to Los Angeles," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "This would amount to abandoning generations of loyal Chargers fans."
However, the mayor promised to continue pushing for a stadium solution.
George Mitrovich, president of the City Club of San Diego, the city's major public forum, said that the Chargers "engaged in blatant hypocrisy and untruth." City Councilman Todd Gloria called the development "beyond unfortunate." And Adam Day, chairman of the city's stadium committee, termed the news "a complete surprise."
Finally, by way of the San Jose Mercury, the reaction in Oakland:
Raiders President Marc Badain contacted multiple Oakland officials about the proposal Thursday evening, as reports began surfacing, first in Los Angeles. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilman Larry Reid each said they were told the Raiders' preference is to stay here.
"They remained very clear that their first choice is to remain in Oakland," Schaaf said. "They obviously need to explore other options, but they've been very clear they are looking for a publicly acceptable stadium deal in Oakland."
Schaaf also raised ongoing struggles over a new stadium for the Oakland A's and the Golden State Warriors' plans to construct a new arena on San Francisco's waterfront, saying, "I will not let (the Raiders' plans) distract me from my focus on working to retain my sports teams -- that's plural -- but also protect the public dollar. I've been very consistent that I do not believe Oakland should subsidize stadium construction."
Added Reid: "Maybe this will push people to move toward getting a deal done. (The Raiders) do want to get a deal done here in the city of Oakland, but there have been ongoing discussions with the city of Carson about an NFL stadium. In the meeting we had with the NFL, they said we wasted 18 months and we have."