As the Oakland Raiders rebuild their team, they are also looking to rebuild their facilities as well. The team has been looking into a new stadium for years now since calling Oakland Coliseum home after moving from Los Angeles. Often regarded as one of the worst stadiums in the NFL, the organization has commissioned a new 50,000-seat stadium, but is it feasible?
According to the Oakland Tribune, the Raiders do not have the funds to pay for the stadium. A team study has found the new home would cost roughly $800 million. David Stone, whose firm is advising the stadium construction, said the Raiders purposed contributing $300 million towards the program and could another $200 million from the loan program through the NFL. That would leave the team $300 million short.
The team's director of public affairs released a statement saying, "Both sides are conducting studies to determine the demand and financial viability of the project." City leaders are not thrilled on the idea of building a brand new stadium. The city was already out millions after the Raiders moved from Los Angeles to Oakland. Councilman Larry Reid is not ruling out the stadium, but noted that public money would be needed.
This raises the question of the Raiders' future in Oakland. The team's lease on the Coliseum expires after the 2013 season and owner Mark Davis is not interested in re-signing on a short-term plan due to the pursuit of a new stadium. At this point with the Gold State Warriors finalizing plans to play in San Francisco and the Oakland A's looking to move to San Jose, the Raiders could be headed elsewhere.
The idea that the Raiders' return to Los Angeles is certainly not crazy. A new 75,000-seat stadium is being proposed to city officials. There is an urgency in Oakland to get some kind of deal done in order to prevent the team from moving once again. One thing working in the Raiders' favor is that they are the only team in the area interested in the city's plan for a sports and entertainment complex. A football team was not Oakland's first thought for the facility since the number of home games is small, unlike basketball or baseball.
If the Raiders can get the new stadium built, it would be the smallest in the NFL, but could help the Raiders start to sell out all home games. The franchise normally does not have an issue with this, but it is a good point regardless. If it is going to happen, the Raiders need to sweet talk some corporate money so the situation can get worked out.