http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_24037189/raiders-stadium-site-preference-could-hasten-exitRaiders stadium site preference could hasten A's exit
OAKLAND -- The Raiders and A's have thrown a new monkey wrench into Oakland's efforts to keep both teams.
Despite their home field being surrounded by acres of parking lot, the Raiders want to build a football-only stadium at the exact location of the current Coliseum, officials said. That would leave the A's with no home field -- not that the A's, who are still eager to move to San Jose, would mind.
"We would not inhibit someone from building a brand-new football stadium if that is what they want to do," A's co-owner Lew Wolff said. When asked where the A's would play if the Coliseum became a construction site, Wolff replied, "That's our business."
City and county leaders have been surprised by the Raiders' stadium site preference and its potential to push the A's out of town. "I can't say why the Raiders would like to have the facility built on the existing footprint," said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who sits on the board that oversees the Coliseum complex. "That would interfere with the A's ability to stay there."
Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid, who also sits on the board, said the Raiders' stadium preference would give the A's added leverage in the team's bid for permission to move to San Jose. "Lew Wolff would be happy if that was the scenario that played out," Reid said. "He could tell Major League Baseball, 'See, they didn't want us. Look what they're doing for the Raiders.'"
The Raiders declined to comment Friday on their stadium plans or where they would play while a new stadium is constructed other than to reiterate in a prepared statement that the team and city are determining the viability of a stadium project and that "there is a real sense of urgency for both parties."
Of the three teams that play at the Coliseum complex, the Raiders are the only one that has stated a preference for staying, although team owner Mark Davis has said he's also discussing potential stadium deals in Los Angeles. The team's lease in Oakland expires at the end of this season.
The A's are negotiating a new lease at the Coliseum that would have an out clause depending on the Raiders stadium plans. Oakland has proposed the Coliseum parking lot and a former shipping terminal near Jack London Square as viable sites for a new ballpark, but Wolff, who would have to finance the construction, has repeatedly said neither is feasible.
A football-only Raiders stadium also might not pencil out in Oakland. The Coliseum's oversight board was informed in July that a 56,500-seat Raiders stadium would cost about $800 million to build and that the team would likely contribute only $300 million.
The specter of a public stadium subsidy could give the city and county more leverage to decide exactly where at the Coliseum complex a Raiders stadium would be built. "Whatever the Raiders want doesn't mean that they're going to get what they want," Miley said.
Andy Dolich, a longtime sports executive, said the Raiders should be willing to build a stadium adjacent to the Coliseum, but added that the status quo could remain in place for years to come.
"These teams are in Oakland," he said. "And there needs to be tremendous mountains to be moved from a finance standpoint, from a league standpoint and from a legal standpoint for them to go anyplace else."