Oakland’s Sports Debt Problem

Oakland is losing two of its three major league teams.

 

 

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors franchise owners are building a new arena in San Francisco and plan to finish out the team’s lease with the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority in Oakland’s arena in 2019. That is the simple part. The difficult part with the divorce between the two sides is who gets custody of the debt. In 1996, a different Warriors ownership group signed a 20-year lease to use a renovated Oakland Coliseum and there was a clause in the deal that the Warriors ownership would help pay down the renovation costs over the life of the contract even though Oakland arena officials stretched out the debt for 30 years with Warriors ownership throwing in money even if the team relocated. The owners completed the 20-year lease and signed a short-term deal to stay in Oakland until the new arena was finished on the other side of the bay. But arena officials think that Warriors ownership should be paying something until the debt is retired which would be around 2025.

 

Oakland is in a bad spot because of financial commitments to the Oakland Coliseum and Coliseum Arena. There is a large debt that is being carried by the taxpayers on the Oakland Coliseum that is presently used by Major League Baseball’s A’s and the National Football League Raiders. The financial commitment was the major stumbling block in the negotiation with Raiders owner Mark Davis. Oakland officials wanted Davis to pay off the debt of the renovated Coliseum which was done for his father when Al Davis decided to move back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995. Mark Davis refused and that pretty much ended Mark Davis’s bid for a new Oakland stadium. Davis’s Raiders will be going to Las Vegas in 2019 or 2020. Local taxpayers will be picking up the debt once Davis’s Raiders depart. It’s nothing personal just business.

Golden State Warriors franchise is moving to San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Ben Margot)