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Municipal Sports Spending is Out of Whack

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Raiders owner Mark Davis with fans as part of presentation by which the club would move from Oakland to Las Vegas. Photo: The Associated Press

Mark Davis and his Raiders partners will be taking their business to Las Vegas at some point in the future. Davis’s NFL lodge brothers gave the thumbs up to the move even though Davis does not appear to have signed a lease agreement for the proposed stadium.

There are questions that the media should be addressing including what happens to the Oakland Coliseum debt that has to be paid for the 1995 renovations that got Al Davis back into the building after a sojourn in Los Angeles. In fact, there are a bunch of NFL relocation questions that journalists should bring up. Who is paying the debt in St. Louis after Stan Kroenke fled the city in 2016 for the Los Angeles market?

Who is paying the debt on the San Diego stadium and practice facility that was once used by the Spanos family’s Chargers in San Diego? Spanos has taken his business to the Los Angeles market. Perhaps cities should get out of the sports business.

Davis wanted Major League Baseball’s Oakland A’s evicted from the Oakland Coliseum so Davis would be the only tenant as part of the stadium deal and refused to pay the 1995 debt. Did Davis bargain in good faith with Oakland officials? In 20 years or so, perhaps Davis or whomever owns the Las Vegas Raiders will decide the 2020 state of the art facility doesn’t cut it anymore and want a new facility.

Some of the $750 million stadium subsidy will be on the books but the people who structured the deal will be long gone and won’t have to answer the why do you put up the enormous handout. The people who did the debt-ridden deals in St. Louis, San Diego and Oakland are long gone.

Davis is stuck in Oakland for a couple more years. That might create significant discomfort for him and the NFL.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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