Raiders interested in San Diego, but move unlikely

The Oakland Raiders are looking to move anywhere that includes a new stadium. Incredibly, San Diego remains an option with the Chargers leaving for Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, rumors started swirling that the Raiders, they of the Las Vegas interest, might be seeing their deal slip away. Much of the potential move was riding on Sheldon Adelson, a casino tycoon, who is reportedly wiping his hands clean of the situation. Now, with Goldman Sachs also thinking of pulling their investment money, Davis is desperate.

The Raiders have made it very clear they want to move. The fans have continued to support the team in light of recent winning ways, but a return to Oakland in 2017 would be ugly. Davis has made little progress on a stadium in the city, despite obvious needs to upgrade the ancient Oakland Coliseum.

So, what for Davis to do? Apparently call up San Diego and see if a move south could be in the cards.

“They did reach out and the Raiders have expressed, for a couple of years, that they would be open and interested in San Diego,” said Kevin Acee, a San Diego Union-Tribune columnist since 1999. “Is it going to happen? If I’m betting, I’d still bet on Las Vegas.”

The wounds are still fresh in San Diego. If you take a large enough whiff, you can still smell the stench of jerseys burning. Despite all that, Acee believes fans would be open to the Raiders coming to the city.

Still, the odds are not great. Owner John Spanos had an impossible time getting funding for a new stadium in San Diego, consistently seeing proposals get voted down. If Davis has real interest in moving down the coast, he better bring — and fill — his wallet.

“It would be very simple to say we are trading one owner that didn’t have a whole lot of resources to get something done for another owner who has even less resources to get something done,” Acee said. “It depends on who you ask on the issue. I will tell you that the feedback when this first broke a couple years ago, and yesterday, from fans, was the overwhelming majority said ‘we would welcome the Raiders in San Diego.'”

After all, a city about to be without professional football for the first time since 1960 can’t be choosy. It has to be said that San Diego does have options, including watching the best game of the week on local television instead of the recently-woeful Chargers. Another option would be traveling a few hours to Los Angeles to watch their relocated franchise.

On the surface, that seems like the obvious move for a diehard fan not ready to move on from Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. Then again, this is anything but a surface issue.

“There are people that will still support them,” Acee said. “However, what you need to understand is that to San Diegans, Los Angeles is another country. We don’t like L.A. I don’t think L.A. really knows we exist except when they want to take a short vacation. We don’t like L.A. We are everything they are not, with the traffic, with the smog, with the attitude, with Hollywood. We are a big small town or a small big town, take your choice. We’re laid back. We hate L.A. Not only did they leave us, they left us for our mortal enemy.”

If there is any thought of San Diego ponying up more dough after losing an NFL team, it seems to be a pipe dream. Building in California has been virtually impossible with public money, something that speaks to larger financial issues within the state.

“At best, it would be the money they offered the Chargers,” Acee said. “There is not going to be any more. If there is one guy who would, I think, settle for a less expensive stadium, it is Mark Davis.”