The Las Vegas Raiders …

In case you had not heard, the Oakland Raiders have been unhappy with their stadium there and applied to move out of Oakland to Las Vegas.  The NFL owners approved that move yesterday.  The new digs in Las Vegas will not be ready for at least 2 years – and perhaps 3 – so the question of where the Raiders will play home games becomes the next potential saga.

The Raiders do have a short-term lease deal with Oakland to continue using the Coliseum there.  Having said that, I will not be surprised to read any time soon that someone will find a clause in that contract that purportedly voids the entire deal if the Raiders make a deal to leave the city.  That will go to court – and probably take at least 2 years to get anywhere near a trial – and in the end, the team will likely settle with the city for a pittance because the stadium in Las Vegas is ready.

Another interesting angle to how this story played out is that it appears to me that Sheldon Adelson was used in the process.  Adelson pledged $650M to the deal and then threw some weight around to get the Governor and the State Legislature to approve a hotel tax in Las Vegas to come up with another $750M.  Then the Raiders and/or the league itself did what needed to be done to get Adelson to walk away from the deal only to have Bank of America step in to fill the $650M funding shortfall.  That seems awfully convenient to me…

I read a report that said coaches were already planning on what to do and where to stay to keep their teams out of trouble and ready to play when they visit Las Vegas.  Obviously, if they are worried about “the dreaded distractions”, teams will not stay on The Strip but frankly, this seems like a “manufactured worry”.  Think about it for a moment:

  1. Visiting teams have been playing in Miami since 1966.  The homefield advantage for the Dolphins is not much better than normal NFL homefield advantage.  There are plenty of “dreaded distractions” and ways for players to “get in trouble” in Miami.  Teams do not stay in Port St. Lucie to keep the players out of harm’s way.
  2. Visiting teams have been playing in New Orleans since 1967.  Change “Dolphins” to “Saints” in the above and realize that teams do not stay in Pascagoula MS to keep players out of harm’s way.

There is the potential for a long-term problem with this move.  The Raiders are a peripatetic franchise; this is the third time they have gone from one city to another.  If they happen to move out of Las Vegas somewhere down the road, someone might want to point out to the City Fathers there that the move would disprove their marketing slogan:

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…

There was another report yesterday that caught my eye simply because it has the potential for future material here.  Coincidentally, it also involves the city of Oakland.  José Canseco is going to be part of the Oakland A’s television team; he will do analysis for the pre-game and post-game shows for A’s games this season.  You may recall that during the Presidential Campaign of 2016, Canseco “volunteered” to be the Chairman of the Federal Reserve for then-candidate Trump.  Canseco said he had a plan to grow the economy by 25% – instead of the meager 1-2% we have experienced in the last10 years and the slightly better 2.5-3 we have seen since WW II.  I presume that he is taking the job in Oakland because he has gotten word that he will not be on the short list to replace Janet Yellen when her term expires at The Fed.  For the record, her term will expire in early 2018…

There is a storyline that has been out and about for the last several weeks or months that I have tired of.  The narrative goes like this:

  • Jerry Jones is best buddies with Tony Romo; and that in the end, Jones will “do right” by Romo.

Since each person is free to define what “doing right” means here, the storyline is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  That is annoying on its own, but there is another part of this story that does not ring right to me.

  • My back-of-the-envelope calculation says that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have paid Tony Romo about $115M to play for the Cowboys since 2004.
  • Might we agree that Jones has already “done right” by Romo?

As the MLB season gets closer, we will enter that time of year when a huge annoyance is perpetrated on sports fans.  If you go to a baseball game this season, you will likely be exposed to a gimmick that might have been cute back in the 80s – which is the timeframe that I first remember this nonsense – but it has outlived its “usefulness” and has become a pain in the ass.  I am talking of course about Kiss Cam.

There is nothing “cute” about Kiss Cam. In its most benign form, it is intrusive and voyeuristic.  And that is as good as it will ever get.  From that lofty perch of intrusive and voyeuristic, the Kiss Cam descends to a logical offshoot which is even more cringe-worthy.  In this obviously staged event, one party proposes marriage to the other party on camera in the presence of tens of thousands of people they do not know.  Whoop-di-damned-doo!

Look, if proposing marriage in front of 25,000 is OK, then why not hold the ceremony at the pitcher’s mound during the 7th inning stretch and then invite everyone to join in watching the consummation of the marriage later that night?  You know, there is sufficient facial recognition software technology available today to enforce a lifetime ban from any sports stadium or arena for everyone who proposes marriage on camera.  Do we need legislation to make that happen or will an Executive Order do?

Finally, since Oakland was the focus for a couple of topics today, here is a comment from Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle regarding the public view of Oakland A’s management:

“Consumer watchdogs warn A’s fans not to fall in love with those food trucks at the Coliseum this season.  ‘If the Jamaican taco truck becomes wildly popular,’ warns one consumer advocate who has studied A’s management over the years, ‘the A’s are sure to trade it for a fried-whale-blubber-on-a-stick truck.’”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…….



4 thoughts on “The Las Vegas Raiders …”

  1. Well, they did it. Now they own it, and all of those unanswered questions regarding said financing and how it will be paid off will bubble up inconveniently over time. I did not see what the transfer fee was.

    Oakland may fight this (or not) citing the comparative accuracy of the money angles. We’ll see, but I think it depends on how quickly Lott’s / Schaaf’s group puts a verified invoice / plan in front of the NFL when the LV project runs into issues which I fully expect. If the stadium is actually built, Oakland will not get the Raiders, however, if the stadium falls apart, they have a small chance and may exert some changes to the management structure.

    1. rugger9:

      Transfer fee is $350M – – about half of what the Chargers and Rams paid to move.

  2. Schaaf threw in the towel, for now, deciding that an 82-83 game home schedule (including the preseason Bay Bridge series) was a better deal than 10 home games for the Raiders. I think there may be more behind the scenes stuff for a little while, especially if the dodgy money question rears its head. Some of the problem arose from Lew Wolff being unable to get a downtown Oakland ballpark for the A’s which kept this two-team tango going until everyone was too angry to discuss a way out. I don’t see litigation (no way Schaaf could justify it) unless the prospect of success is well above 80% and that is not where it is now.

    The SJMN had a column today about why Jerry Jones is driving this, it seems he owns a company called Legends that provides stadium services of some kind, and it’s quite profitable.

    There is no “conflict of interest” or recusal procedure in the NFL bylaws for ownership issues, so not much can be done

    1. rugger9:

      Jerry Jones’ stadium services company is involved with more than a few NFL stadiums and – as you say – it is quite profitable. There is no need for a “conflict of interest” provision in the NFL bylaws because no stadium is required to use Jones’ company and various cities/owners can run their facilities in other ways.

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