Bowing to the potential ire of local sports fans, Coliseum Joint Powers Authority commissioners delayed voting on a management contract with Anschutz Entertainment Group over a provision to prevent the company from poaching the Raiders or Warriors.
The commissioners were expected to accept the five-year contract with AEG to manage day-to-day operations at the publicly owned O.co Coliseum and Oracle Arena.
But during the regular meeting Friday, the Coliseum authority once again tabled the vote, this time postponing its decision until a special meeting Monday. It was scheduled to vote on the contract the previous week.
Suspicion among some fans is still strong that AEG will sabotage Oakland by working with San Francisco to move the Warriors across the Bay or try to woo the Raiders to Los Angeles, where an arm of AEG is developing a stadium and needs a team to play in it.
The Warriors announced plans to move to San Francisco, but some groups are holding out hope of keeping the team in Oakland.
The poaching issue has held up the agreement despite the countdown to the July 1 deadline, when the contract of incumbent operator SMG ends and six weeks to the Raiders first game in Oakland.
Commissioner Chris Dobbins, who co-founded Save Oakland Sports to lobby for the teams to stay in Oakland, wanted a clear statement included in the contract that AEG would not try to lure the teams out of
But the JPA cannot block AEG or one of its affiliates from competing for one of the teams because of anti-trust laws, authority counsel Deena McClain said.
Instead, the contract allows the Coliseum authority to terminate the contract and keep millions of dollars AEG has pledged, including a $1 million signing bonus, $3.5 million sweetener and incentive fees.
The provision kicks in if AEG enters into an agreement with the Raiders, Warriors or A's to relocate. AEG is also prohibited from using any confidential or proprietary information about the Coliseum Complex or the teams to the competitive disadvantage of the authority.
That was not enough for Dobbins or Commissioner Nate Miley.
"What's the trade-off for us? Is that $6 million going to make us whole?" Miley said, meaning if a team leaves. "We'll look like chumps."
He wanted to postpone voting on the contract until the authority could test how far it can push assurances from AEG not to take the teams and not overstep anti-trust laws. No one in the county or city administration has examined the details of the law cited by AEG lawyers during negotiations with a consultant, Barrett Sports Group, which was hired to hash out an agreement with AEG. Barrett has assessed the proposals by AEG, as well as competitors for the contract, SMG and Global Spectrum.
Commissioners Aaron Goodwin and Yui Hay Lee were absent from Friday's meeting.