Our sister paper in LA has been letting the world know that the Raiders could end up in San Diego. Vincent Bonsignore is very well-sourced. I saw that first-hand in Houston last week. It’s clear that the Raiders will leverage other markets to try to extract concessions from Oakland. However, I’m not sure the Raiders-to-San Diego narrative is as rosy as it might appear.
To read Vincent’s recent column, click here.
I’m going to highlight some of his statements below and give my two cents. Here we go:
According to sources, San Diego is a very real and viable option. It’s a market the NFL absolutely wants to be in, and one the league is comfortable the Raiders would dominate.
Let’s be real: The Raiders haven’t dominated a market in 35 years. The didn’t dominate LA, and they’ve been second fiddle here since their return. Losing hasn’t helped, but the big reason is the team can’t sit still. Moving a third time — to a city where they’re largely despised — doesn’t seem like a recipe market domination, no matter what folks in the NFL want to believe.
In other words, the NFL would have a strong presence in San Diego (if the Raiders moved there) and be able to leverage the Bay Area to motivate current markets into securing stadium deals for their teams.
Huh? The Bay Area as the new Los Angeles? Would Jed York willingly rent out his stadium and share a market he would completely control after the Raiders left town? If not, that means this new team would be moving to a city (Oakland) that refuses to contribute to a stadium and whose own stadium study shows a limited market for PSLs, luxury boxes, etc.
Then there’s the issue that many of the fans this new team would try to win over would probably still be rooting for the Raiders. Not exactly as exciting as moving to a vacant Los Angeles.
As for the Raiders, a move to San Diego is advantageous for a number of reasons.
The Silver and Black have a strong foothold in Southern California, and can count on support from nearby Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and even Ventura counties. In addition to San Diego, of course.
You’d guys know better than me, but isn’t there a big difference between circling one game on the calendar and driving or flying two hours for it, and doing that for every game? Can a franchise really be successful with a commuter fan base?
The key is, can the Raiders do what the Chargers could not: Agree on a stadium deal with San Diego, and get it approved?
Obviously that remains to be seen. But two things to consider: If San Diego loses the Chargers, the mindset shifts from keeping the NFL to attracting the NFL. So there will be ample motivation.
There are several examples of cities that lost their NFL team and then offered generous public subsides to get one back (St. Louis, Baltimore, Houston Cleveland) What does San Diego have that those cities don’t have? The best weather in the world.
What other city with great weather also lost its NFL teams? Los Angeles!!! And, did Los Angeles open up its wallet to the NFL after the Raiders and Rams left? It’s wishful thinking on the part of the NFL to think San Diego will act like a rust belt city after losing pro football. It’s much more likely that it will act like Los Angeles.
Davis isn’t looking to build an extravagant $1.7 billion stadium. He wants a modest, contemporary venue that includes all the bells and whistles and revenue streams of new stadiums around the league.
But at a much smaller price tag.
In other words, he can approach San Diego with much more palatable and less expensive needs. For local leaders, that means a more doable stadium plan both economically and politically.
First off, we don’t know if Davis’ Oakland stadium would really cost just $900 million. And that isn’t much lower than San Diego’s $1.1 billion plan. More important thing to remember is that the Raiders are proposing a small stadium in Oakland because there are studies showing that it’s all the market offers.
The Carson stadium was bigger with more suites and club seating because it was assumed the LA market could fill it. If the Raiders go to San Diego, they’ll likely want a stadium that will meet market demand for the team. There’s reason to question how much market demand there would be, but if the Raiders think there’s bigger demand than in Oakland, they would likely want a stadium to meet that demand.
And, even if the Raiders wanted less than $350 million from San Diego, that doesn’t mean San Diego residents would vote for it.