Oakland Raiders Win Partial Victory Against Coliseum 

Oakland Raiders Win Partial Victory Against Coliseum

JIM WASSERMAN, Associated Press Writer Tuesday, August 26, 2003

(08-26) 14:08 PDT SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) --

Al Davis and his Oakland Raiders were awarded $34.2 million Tuesday by a jury that found Oakland coliseum officials failed to deliver on promises of sold-out stadiums in luring the team back from Los Angeles.

The verdict in the lawsuit was far less than the $570 million to $833 million the Raiders sought to compensate for weak ticket sales and the declining value of the franchise.

Both sides promised to appeal the verdict -- reached after more than 10 days of deliberations. The jury heard nearly four months of testimony from 45 witnesses and had more than 600 pieces of evidence to consider.

"Do we think that there's adequate compensation for damages? No," said the Raiders' attorney, Roger Dreyer. "We're disappointed with the verdict. We're disappointed with the numbers."

The case dates to 1995 when Davis, the legendary Raiders owner, maneuvered to get his team out of Southern California after revenues waned, the team's stadium was shaken by an earthquake and a deal collapsed to build a new stadium.

The deal gave the Raiders a $53 million loan, $10 million for a training complex and $100 million to renovate the coliseum, which is shared with the Oakland Athletics.

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, its chief negotiator Ed DeSilva and the now-defunct Arthur Andersen accounting firm were accused of intentionally misleading the team with its promises of sold-out games.

The jury ruled the coliseum acted negligently, but said none of the defendants intentionally misrepresented ticket sales.

The coliseum's lawyer said any box office flop should be partly blamed on high ticket prices and the Raiders' poor performance on the field upon their return to Oakland.

The Raiders are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, from their days as an AFL power in the 1960s to their return to dominance in the last three years.

During that time, Davis' lengthy career has been marked by a bruising style of play on the field and an aggressive business approach that has made the organization the most litigious in the NFL.

The coliseum suit was similar to one the Raiders lost two years ago in Los Angeles. Davis claimed the NFL owed him $1.2 billion for spiking the deal to build a new stadium at the Hollywood Park race track. A judge ordered a new trial because of juror misconduct, but the NFL is appealing.

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but....

The Raiders press conference is coming up today. They're mentioning filing appeal. I personally think both sides should focus on solving the problem of poor PSL sales, by just doing away with the program and adopting a ticket surcharge system.

What do you think?

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Comment A ticket surcharge is simply an extra "tax" applied to each ticket per game. For example, a PSL club seat that sell for $16,000 for a 10-year right, can be changed so that it sells as a season ticket package for $300 for each game. As a single game ticket, it would sell for $90. The season ticket split would be $100 for the Raiders and $200 toward the bond issue. For the single game ticket, it would be $20 to the bond issue and $70 for the Raiders. It's actually a better system than the PSLs, because each ticket purchase contributes directly to the payment of the bond issue. I would also work to rewrite the Master Lease Agreement and lengthen it, as well as restructure the bond issue. This way more money can be captured to pay down the bond issue.

Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:03 pm MST by Zennie

Comment Whoops...If I read more carefully, the article states that the Raiders were looking for $570 million to $833 million. Zennie, Do you think you can elaborate more on "ticket surcharge" as an alternative to PSL? Thanks.

Wed Aug 27, 2003 1:27 am MST by Hodaka

Comment Yeah, amazing! I think the casual fan will be surprised to find that Al Davis won the case. It seems he had more of a case than many had believed initially. Despite the win, wasn't Al Davis and co. looking to get more than $34 million? It seems to me that is only enough to pay the lawyer fee...heh. Another interesting tidbit I picked up from word-of-mouth is now that the Raiders have beat the county, how will this effect Alameda's other financial issues such as education? All this money going to the Raiders doesn't seem too beneficial for the residents of Alameda County.

Wed Aug 27, 2003 1:23 am MST by Hodaka

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