Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders NFL American football franchise, has issued a strong verbal attack against the Oakland Athletics over changes the Major League Baseball team has made to the Oakland Coliseum.
The stadium currently serves as the home of both teams, but the Raiders are due to move to a state-of-the-art new home in Las Vegas in 2020.
The Raiders’ lease to play at the Coliseum had expired on February 13, technically leaving the team homeless for its final NFL season in Oakland before the relocation to Las Vegas.
Following a drawn-out saga which saw the Raiders linked with temporary moves to Levi’s Stadium and Oracle Park, an agreement was eventually struck for the team to continue playing at the Coliseum during the upcoming season in a deal that includes the option for an extra year if the Vegas venue is not ready on time.
Under the new lease agreement, the A’s effectively have greater control over the Coliseum than the Raiders and have made a number of baseball-focused changes to the stadium. Changes include the addition of theatre boxes, lounge seats and terrace tables, which have reduced the number of seats available during NFL games.
In an interview with The Athletic, Davis expressed his frustration at the current arrangement and had some strong words for the A’s.
“Unfortunately, there’s a problem there,” he said. “As far as the players and everybody, we love the A’s. We seriously do. But the front office has been real p*****. They’ve been really f****** around with us up there, taking advantage of the situation. Which, it is their right to do it, but it makes it hard. Again though, we love the players, we love the A’s.”
Davis later apologised for the tone of his comments but stood by what he said. “I am not sorry for the things I said,” he told ESPN. “But I am sorry for the way I said them.”
Last week, the Raiders confirmed Las Vegas-based travel company Allegiant as the naming-rights sponsor of its state-of-the-art 65,000-seat stadium. financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but reports suggest the deal will earn the Raiders between $20m (£16.6m/€17.8m) and $25m a year.
The A’s have plans to build their own privately-financed waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal.
Image: Oakland Raiders