The Oakland Raiders could be on their way out of Oakland — again — if the team’s owner Mark Davis can’t work out a deal with the city for a new stadium facility. The problem is, if an arrangement doesn’t get worked out the Raiders may have no place to go.
Davis inherited the Oakland Raiders when his father, the team’s legendary founding owner Al Davis, died in 2011. The 59-year-old junior Davis watched once before as his father moved the team out of Oakland to Los Angeles, where the Raiders played in the cavernous and decaying Los Angeles Coliseum from 1982 to 1994.
In 1984, the Raiders won what to date is the last of their three Super Bowl victories, defeating the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl XVIII game played on January 22, 1984. But the whole time the Oakland Raiders were in Los Angeles, Al Davis attempted to move out of the Coliseum which despite seating over 93,000, lacked the luxury boxes that provide huge profits for pro sports franchises and was situated in a crime-ridden neighborhood that prevented the Raiders from ever hosting a Monday Night Football game at the Coliseum.
But thanks largely to the byzantine nature of Los Angeles local politics, Davis was never able to persuade the city to build the Raiders a new stadium.
But lately Mark Davis has been contemplating moving his team back to the sunny evirons of Southern California.
“We’re not done in Oakland. We’re trying really hard, and we’ll see how that goes,” the Oakland Raiders owner said last month. “But Los Angeles is something that I’ve definitely thought about and haven’t pursued. I know that we would be well embraced down there. There’s no question about that.”
Whether Mark Davis would be willing to move back into the now-91-year-old Coliseum is something he did not address. Davis has said he prefers a proposed site where the Hollywood Park racetrack now stands.
But the problems of building a new football stadium in Los Angeles are now legendary. The Raiders abandoned Los Angeles after the 1994 season. Since then, 21 new NFL stadiums have been built and opened. But not in Los Angeles.
A 22nd new NFL stadium will open about 30 miles down the freeway from Oakland’s O.co Coliseum when the 2014 season begins, with the San Francisco 49ers relocating to Levi Stadium in Santa Clara after playing in Candlestick Park since 1971.
The new Santa Clara stadium seems like a more obvious and easier home for the Oakland Raiders, but Mark Davis remains skeptical.
“We’d be like a second tenant. That’s not what I want for the Raiders and their legacy,” said the Oakland owner.