San Francisco is making a play to block the Oakland Raiders from moving into the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park. Its target? The teams’ wallets.
With mayor London Breed publicly signaling her disapproval of the Raiders playing the 2019 season in the China Basin ballpark on Tuesday morning, the City of San Francisco is hoping to extract as much of a toll from the Giants as they can in order to prevent them from hosting a one-year residency by the Raiders, according to City sources with knowledge of the situation.
Under an agreement with the City, the Giants have to pay so-called “reasonable costs” to the City for special, non-game-day events, of which they are allowed 14 per year.
Those reasonable costs go for expenses the City would incur with a large-scale event being held at the stadium. The source said that the City has sent the Giants a schedule of fees that lays on every possible charge in order to discourage the Giants’ partnership with the itinerant Raiders.
These costs are all real — but ones that when added up, may make it too painful, dollars wise, for the Raiders to play at the home of the Giants.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin is one city official unaware of the effort, but said he’s happy to see The Mayor’s Office and other key San Francisco agencies proudly defending our neighbor across the bay, Oakland.
“We all as San Franciscans like to uphold the fact that unlike Houston and other cities, we do not give subsidies to major football and baseball franchises,” Peskin said. “Yet we have the San Francisco Giants, who we love. Having said that, that does not mean they get a free ride at the taxpayers’ expense.”
Peskin also said Raiders’ game days may impact Muni and other city services far differently than Giants games “with arguably higher costs to the city. It’s appropriate the city recoup the costs.”
Those fees include — but are not limited to — overtime for police, port fees, fees paid to the Recreation and Park Department for anticipated tailgating at places like South Beach Park and fees to support heavier traffic loads to be managed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
In essence, the City is trying to raise the bill as high as it legally can in an effort to stop the Raiders from using San Francisco as a one-year landing spot.
City officials have taken a sour view of the Raiders for potentially abandoning the Oakland Coliseum due to pending litigation from the City of Oakland, and before their stadium in Las Vegas is ready. As the Giants have refused to comment on the possible dealings, it’s left up to speculation whether the fees would be paid strictly by the Giants, strictly by the Raiders, or a combination thereof.
Another wrinkle to the saga is the fact that the Giants have an agreement with the city that limits the number of their non-game-day events per year. In 2018, those events included Cirque du Soleil, concerts by Ed Sheeran and Journey, the Rugby World Cup Sevens, the San Francisco Bacon and Beer Classic and the Giant Race. In past years, events have included other concerts, as well as Opera in the Park, which is not scheduled for 2019 as of yet.
The only public non-game event on the Giants Enterprise website scheduled for 2019 is the Giant Race, scheduled for Sept. 8, 2019.
The Raiders — who have one “home” game set to take place internationally, per the NFL — would have seven regular-season games potentially at the park, plus two preseason games for a total of nine of those non-baseball events.
Since the Giants are unlikely to make the playoffs, it’s unlikely they’d be playing in the park beyond September. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that part of the plan with the Giants and Raiders would include the Raiders going on the road for the first month of the season, and only pay at Oracle Park after San Francisco’s season has concluded.
The biggest factor in the entire scenario, though, is the San Francisco 49ers. Under NFL bylaws, the 49ers, who own territorial rights in San Francisco (despite playing 35 miles south in Santa Clara) have veto power over whether the Raiders play in their city.
The City source indicated that the 49ers would rather have the Raiders play at Levi’s Stadium, and pay the York family rent. That arrangement is reportedly unpalatable for Raiders owner Mark Davis.
As of Tuesday night, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the 49ers are not expected to waive their territorial rights. That, plus Breed coming out publicly against the plan, likely take San Francisco off the table.MLBNFL