Venue News: Al Davis’ Death Leaves Raiders with Uncertain Future

Following the passing of Oakland Raiders’ legendary owner Al Davis, and apparent handing down of the franchise’s controlling interest to Davis’ son Mark, a seismic shift in the NFL’s stadium construction and franchise relocation landscape could potentially occur, with implications likely to reverberate across the facility-challenged state of California. As the NFL closes in on a potential return to the Los Angeles market, which has been vacant since the Raiders returned to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, there are numerous questions in the wake of Davis’ death. Will the Raiders will be more receptive to cutting a co-tenant deal with the 49ers in Santa Clara? Will the franchise be wooed back to Los Angeles and the proposed Farmers Field? Or will the team’s uncertain status spur another franchise contemplating relocation to make a deal in Los Angeles? The franchise’s future is complicated by the existence of numerous minority partners in the ownership group; however, Mark Davis will likely control the team’s immediate direction…

…Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, summoned officials from Edmonton and the Katz Group to New York City in an attempt to moderate the drawn-out negotiations on the proposed downtown arena. The back-and-forth between the city and the Katz Group over the proposed arena for the Oilers has heated up in recent weeks, after the Katz Group set an Oct. 31 deadline for a deal to be signed and later said the deadline was also the expiry date of the purchase of the land for the arena to sit on. Since the deadline was set, the company has encouraged city residents to lobby city council to agree to the proposed arena. Representatives from Northlands, which owns the Oilers’ currently home, were not involved in the meetings. The Katz Group has said that it will need a “non-compete” clause in its contract to ensure the proposed arena is financially viable; a clause that has made negotiations especially contentious…

…The Chargers are calling for a civic conversation about the pros and cons of rejecting expansion plans for the San Diego Convention Center in favor of building the team a new stadium with convention space in East Village. The public impasse between business and political forces reflects a showdown over funding that has become more limited in recent months. The competition pits a group that generates money for the city — the convention center and hoteliers — against a football team with a passionate following. Plans to add 422,500 square feet of space to San Diego’s 1.8 million-square-foot convention center are estimated to cost $500 million to $550 million, and hoteliers are considering whether to raise hotel taxes to cover part of the expense. Building a football stadium with a retractable roof in East Village is projected to cost $800 million, excluding $150 million already budgeted to clean up and move a bus yard and other tenants at a 15-acre site east of Petco Park. The stadium site is about six blocks from the convention center…

… A luxurious hospitality clubhouse will debut at the 2013 Masters. The new permanent structure, which will be called Berckmans Place, will resemble a stately Southern mansion on the exterior with white columns framing the expansive front porch. It is being constructed along the right side of the fifth hole on course property next to Berckmans Road. According to golf industry sources, passes for the week will run $6,000 each, creating new revenue for the club and a top-of-the-line entertainment setting for the Masters’ partners. For years, hospitality at Augusta National was limited to a makeshift area off the first fairway with limited food options and shared bathrooms. The new hospitality clubhouse will offer a sprawling burger and raw bar in one section, while another area will be more traditional seated dining. A lobby and lounge area will provide guests an area to relax, have a drink, and watch the tournament on TV.

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