The black hole / Raiders, public officials look for way out of PSLs fiasco

... in the latest round of negotiations involving the city of Oakland ... The number $65 million has been mentioned as the next bitter pill taxpayers will have to swallow if the remarketing of Raiders personal seat licenses fails...

Suffice it to say that the $10 million in losses that the city and county are averaging each year on the Coliseum complex could increase dramatically unless a way is found to turn the Silver and Black into gold...

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority ... is wrestling with what to do with the PSLs, which are due to expire after this season. In 1995 they cost from $250 to $4,000, depending on the seat location, and you couldn't buy a season ticket without one.

The PSLs were supposed to pay off the $200 million in publicly financed bonds that paid for the expansion of what is now called McAfee Coliseum, along with a practice facility and other enticements to lure the Raiders back from Los Angeles after 13 years...

The officials and their highly paid consultants were convinced the 63,132- seat stadium would be sold out with PSLs, or close to it. They were off by about 50 percent. The break-even point was 80 percent of all seats, authority auditor Pat O'Connell said recently. After all the multiple applications and credit card rejections were sorted out, however, only 31,000 PSL/season tickets were sold.

Overly optimistic assumptions extended to stadium naming rights. It was expected that those rights would immediately bring in $1.5 million a year. The rights weren't sold for three years, and when they were, they initially sold for $400,000, O'Connell said...

I was buying something on-line and when I gave my address (in Oakland) the man on the other end said, "Wow -- the Raiders. Are you a Raiders fan?" And I said, "I was for a long time, and I will be again -- once Al Davis is dead and we have confirmed sightings of him in hell."

What I meant was I was absolutely a loyal fan when Kenny Stabler was there, and even (unlike a lot of others) when Jim Plunkett took over, totally different ambience from the Snake, but a man with integrity and class -- and one I'd seen play at Stanford, a player who danced the football field like Rudolf Nureyev (Too young to remember? How about Mikhail Baryshnikov?) before the Patriots put him behind an offensive line made of toilet paper and broke his knees. Like the Snake, Plunkett never complained, never made excuses, and found ways to win. Those were the days when the players lived in Oakland, when you could go into the local sports bar and run into players, give them the high sign, maybe but them a round. And oh, yeah, they won ballgames.

Many of my neighbors have Raiders' logos on their cars and trucks, and we were all hanging out on the street one day when I was asked about it, why I'm not a fan. Here's what I said, with a metaphor of the history:

"So say you have a girlfriend and you're faithful faithful faithful to her, supported her through the tough and awkward years and got her everything she wants and made her into a star, but then one day, she announces -- to the whole world -- she's says, 'You're just a small-time cheap-shit punk. You're not worth my time, and I'm out of here. Fuck you, loser.' And she heads out to Hollywood for fame and fortune, and after a few years finds out one more sort of pretty face doesn't cut it and she shows up and says: 'Here's the deal. I'll come back and be your woman again, but you have to give me $10,000* to get my phone number so THEN you can call me up and take me out.' So, I asked my neighbors, would you do it -- with everyone you know watching you to see -- would you do it? The fact that she doesn't even put out for the price, no kissing or hugging or dressing up nice or anything, that's not even an issue. She dissed you, punk'd you in front of the world and now wants you to pay her to take your phone calls? Forget it. Tell Al Davis to go fuck himself."

Unfortunately, since I live in Oakland, which is a great town, I'm still paying what it cost for the Board of Supervisors' to jerk themselves off over the return of the good old days through my property taxes.

So as I said, because even the cheap-ass York family that ran the 49ers into the ground are better than Al Davis -- when he's dead, and we have confirmed sightings of him in Hell, and they actually sell enough seats for us to see them on TV, then I'll put some black on my silver car.

I know a lot of the players are good guys who deserve better, and I feel bad for them to be on a team that the locals all know is ripping us off, but sorry -- kind of like being a really good guy and a brave and talented soldier when Hitler was the C-in-C.

*The original PSL price


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