KCBS News Anchor Stan Bunger offers his unique sports analysis.
Someday, this will all end. The NFL will allow a team, or two, to move to Los Angeles. The Raiders will, or won’t, be one of them.
For now, here’s an idea to ponder. Crazy? Probably. But crazier than any of the other stuff that’s been tossed at the wall in this long-running drama? You be the judge.
Here it is: Oakland and Alameda County should do what Raiders owner Mark Davis wants. They should build him a new stadium. But in return, they get a piece of the team.
Am I nuts? Are the people investing in all those startup “unicorns” nuts? Last time I looked, Uber was valued at more than $50 billion, and it hasn’t made a nickel in profit.
Before you completely dismiss the idea, let’s look at some numbers.
Forbes estimates the Raiders’ value at $1.4 billion. That’s a pretty valuable piece of business, but get this: that’s the next-to-lowest valuation in the NFL.
Let’s assume a new stadium could help the Raiders move up the list, perhaps to the halfway mark. Now you’re looking at a valuation of about $2 billion. In other words, a middle-of-the-NFL pack valuation adds $600 million to the Raiders’ paper value. A valuation more in keeping with the Bay Area’s market size? Even more. The 49ers are worth $2.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Some people think an NFL franchise is just a rich guy’s bauble, a way to flaunt it. True, but the rich DO get richer.
Experts conservatively estimate an NFL franchise provides an average return of over $100 million a year. That’s factoring in operating income plus the crazy appreciation rate. In other words, it’s like owning a rental house that’s both cash-flow-positive AND in an area of skyrocketing values. You make money every year, and you make a whole lot of money when you sell.
The die is already cast on NFL revenue. Without putting a single butt in a single seat, every team receives over $225 million a year in network TV revenue, and that number is going nowhere but up.
Al Davis left his widow Carol and son Mark a billion-dollar golden goose. The Raiders are part of one of the most powerful legal money-making schemes on this planet, the NFL.
When Al was still alive, he got Oakland and Alameda County to renovate the Coliseum for him.
Taxpayers are still paying to retire the debt on that project (and paying to cover an annual operating loss at the Coliseum). Back then, NFL per-team TV revenue was on the order of $3 million a year. Now, it’s roughly 75 times that. Just think where East Bay taxpayers would sit now if they’d told Davis, “We’ll build Mount Davis, but we want 5 percent of each year’s TV money.” That would be $11 million this year.
It should be clear to all that the days of building a stadium so a billionaire sports team owner can use it to get wealthier are over. It should also be clear that a pro sports franchise is a sort of community asset.
So why not make it an ACTUAL asset? Somebody smarter than me can do the math and figure what percent of the Raiders Davis should sell to the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority in exchange for the shiny new stadium. He gets his stadium, the rich get richer, and this time, the taxpayers are along for the ride instead of being taken for a ride.