To fans of NFL football, The Oakland Raiders are truly an iconic team. They are known for their gritty play, as well as their eclectic and sometimes eccentric players – where the rebels and castaways of the NFL frequently wind up, and often make big on their second chance.
The Oakland Raiders franchise began back in 1960 as members of the now defunct AFL, which merged with the NFL in 1970. The Raiders stayed in Oakland from 1960 to 1981. In 1982, they moved to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Raiders. Then in 1995, they moved back to Oakland where they have played to this day.
After several years of pushing for construction of a new stadium, now there is a deal is in the works to move the team to Las Vegas. It is not a done deal quite yet, but there is a chance the team may stay in Oakland. This is obviously good news for the die-hard fans. As for the critics, not so much.
I get that the fans of the Oakland Raiders want them to stay in Oakland, CA and not move to Las Vegas. But one issue that seems to escape those who just want their football team in the Bay Area is debt. A group led by former Raider Ronnie Lott is trying to work out a deal with the county for a new stadium estimated at a cost of $1.3 billion, of which $350 million would come from public funds, while a $91 million debt still exists on the coliseum from the 1995 renovation.
We are so much a culture that wants to spend until we are in debt way over our heads. Then, we blame someone else for our trouble. They are willing to spend money on a football team when the city itself needs help. Who can honestly deny that Oakland needs financial help for infrastructure? Not any reasonable person.
San Francisco Chronicle.
A few months ago, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story titled “Homeless tent camps sprouting all over Oakland.” Another story appearing in the World Atlas lists Oakland as one of the top 3 cities with the highest violent crime rate. Of course, these problems plague a lot more cities in America besides Oakland.
Getting back to sports stadiums, according to MarketWatch 22 cities have given an average of $250 million to the NFL for stadiums since 1997. That’s a total of $5.5 billion – and that’s just for football! Partial financing for many of these deals came through property taxes, which usually go towards infrastructure and schools.
Hey folks, I believe the time has come for us to think long and hard about our priorities.
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.