National Football League offers funding help for new Oakland stadium

National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell recently announced that the league is willing to contribute substantial funding to help in the construction of a new professional football stadium in Oakland, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The stadium issue has long been a contentious point of discussion among Oakland taxpayers, who would be on the hook for much of the construction bill. The recent announcement by the NFL could be a tremendous boon for the city and its residents while increasing the demand for the homes for sale in Oakland.

According to CBS, the Oakland Raiders played their first home game at the newly constructed 54,000-seat Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in September 1966. Construction of the stadium cost $25.5 million and two years after its opening, the Raiders began sharing the stadium with the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Coliseum was home to the Raiders for the next four decades - save for a seven-year period when the team moved to Los Angeles - and underwent a substantial $120 million renovation in 1995. However, despite the series of makeovers - including the addition of 22,000 seats, 90 luxury suites, two private clubs and two video scoreboards - the fact that the Raiders shared their home confines with a baseball team damaged the team's credibility among local taxpayers and residents.

"It's our stage," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the news source in referencing NFL stadiums. "It's part of where we present our game. It's the biggest part. It's also really important to the fan experience. Having full stadiums is critical for us. We want to have our fans in the stadium, we want to make sure they have the best facilities, we want to make sure the teams can generate enough revenue to be successful and competitive. The priority is what the community and the team work out."

The league has offered to contribute up to $200 million on the construction of a new stadium, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The NFL had recently contributed the same amount to help fund the construction of a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in nearby Santa Clara. There has been discussions that the two teams could share the new stadium when it is scheduled to open in 2014 and maximize its usage, but those talks remain in the preliminary stages.

Local officials, prominent business partners and Oakland taxpayers have long clashed over the cost-benefit analysis of building a more modern facility on the same site as the current Oakland Coliseum, the news source reports. Taxpayers would have to bear a significant portion of the financial burden - in the form of increased property taxes - but would also accrue many of the benefits that come with new stadiums. The neighborhoods and communities around the Oakland Coliseum would be upgraded and renovated, while a wealth of retail outlets and restaurants would likely be imported, all of which can significantly bolster the local economy. Additionally, a new stadium could also substantially raise property values in the surrounding areas, which could attract homebuyers looking to make a positive investment. NFL teams and their accompanying stadiums can add a significant amount of prestige to a city or neighborhood, making it more desirable to outsiders. City officials must consider
this and all other economic and real estate impacts when deciding on how to proceed with the stadium funding issue.