Lowell Cohn: Raiders not going to LA, and here's why

Owner Mark Davis doesn’t have money to finance the move and the NFL would prefer other teams.|

Lots of talk about the Raiders moving to L.A. Lots of talk this is their final season at O.Co Coliseum.


Time for a Raiders reality check.

Here are 10 reasons the Raiders never move to L.A. I write this knowing owner Mark Davis has his heart in the right place, knowing Carmen Policy is on the Raiders’ side, and he is the best. Even with Policy, the Raiders have trouble.

Reason No. 1: The league is not going to let the Raiders move to L.A. for free. Forget about it. Where is the Raiders’ relocation money going to come from? Compare the Raiders to the Rams who also want to move to L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has deep pockets and owns land at the old Hollywood Park racetrack. What does Mark have?

NFL owners will want a nice big paycheck from the relocating teams because the teams will be tapping into a huge financial pot of gold in L.A. The league wants to be compensated. The league most likely will hold back a total 100 percent revenue share for the relocating clubs and give incremental raises over the years, very similar to an expansion team joining the league. No way the other owners allow the Raiders and/or Chargers and/or Rams to strike the mother lode without getting a piece of the pie. The league office will want its share, too.

Where does all this leave Mark?

Reason No. 2: The L.A. fan base has existed almost 21 years without a pro football team. Does it want somebody else’s trash, definitely not treasure, moving into its area? Sorry to use the word trash with the Raiders. But they are Mediterranean Avenue or Baltic Avenue, the low-rent properties. They cerainly are not Marvin Gardens or even St. James Place. The league wants, and deserves, Park Place and Boardwalk in the huge L.A. market.

Reason No. 3: Sharing a stadium and its costs with the Chargers in Carson would help Mark and the Raiders because they don’t have to come up with the full $1.2 billion or whatever for a new place. But what about sponsorship and marketing dollars and naming-rights dollars?

There will be competition for that money. Big competition. Who will get the “A-list” sponsors and attract the top-drawer clients - Rams, Raiders or Chargers? Not to mention Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers. Good luck, Mark.

Reason No. 4: The L.A. fans, who have not seen in person an NFL game in over two decades, will not want to pay exorbitant PSL prices and season-ticket prices to support a ballclub - the Raiders - which has struggled even to get to .500 and is rebuilding yet again.

Reason No. 5: The Raiders almost surely do not have a staff that has the contacts in the L.A. market to attract top dollars for its name and image. What about radio rights and other local rights that the team does not have to share? The Raiders may not be able to command the same revenues as the Rams or, possibly, even the Chargers.

Reason No. 6: Mark will have to determine whom in the current club directory he wants to take to L.A. with him. What about relocation dollars for those people? Housing costs more in L.A. Cost of living is way higher than Pleasanton, Dublin, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Pinole, Bay Farm Island, etc. Where is he going to get the cash to distribute to those people?

Reason No. 7: If the Raiders move to L.A. before a new stadium gets built, they will have nowhere to play. The Rose Bowl says it does not want an NFL team or two because it already has the UCLA Bruins. People living near the Rose Bowl do not want additional car traffic in their swanky neighborhoods. That resistance probably goes double for Raiders fans.

USC has exclusive control over the Coliseum, and athletic director Pat Haden has said he would allow only one NFL team to play there, and that team must pay for it. The Raiders might be the odd team out.

Reason No. 8: Once the Raiders commit to L.A. but still play in Oakland, almost no one is going to pay to watch them, a team that has bolted the community for the second time. How many sponsorship and naming-rights packages does a team expect to sell when it no longer is in that market, but still plays there? Call that team a ghost team.

Reason No. 9: The league does not want the Mark Davis Raiders in L.A. Can I prove this? No. Is this my gut feeling? Heck, yeah.

If the league wants the Raiders down south, it would have helped them already. The league feels, I believe, Mark does not have the business savvy and financial juice to command the type of investments necessary to lift up the franchise. You know I’m right.

Reason No. 10: The league wants Mark Davis to sell to people who actually have dough to properly run a franchise, sign expensive free agents, etc. Can I prove this? No. Is this my gut feeling? Heck, yeah.

The Raiders are the league’s charity case. They are running on financial fumes. They are a fiscal embarrassment compared to - you name them - the Niners, Cowboys, Giants, Seahawks. The list goes on. You know I’m right.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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