Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just Stay Baby

Just stay. It’s a simple way to sum it all up.

Here’s how a good friend describes the Raiders’ experience. It describes why the Raiders are one of Oakland’s leading economic development lights and why we as a business community should do everything we can to keep them.

"The three-hour drive to Oakland is worth every minute just to be a part of one of the most unique cultural celebrations in North America – a Raiders home game. Since the last game, a day has not gone by without a laughter-filled conversation about going to a Raiders game as a family. The Raider Nation is alive and well and the experience lives up to the all the hype." – Josh Cook, Chico, CA.

The Raider Nation in Oakland is arguably the most passionate and loyal group of fans in the history of American sports. The team owns a storied history in Oakland, with championships in 1976 and 1980.

Last season, nearly a half-million people came through the turnstiles, many from far beyond the I-880 corridor. Raider fans spend money in Oakland. Raider fans drive national visibility for Oakland. Raider fans hella love Oakland.

The legacy of Al Davis looms large over the franchise, its fans and our city. Young fans are indoctrinated into the Raider Nation by learning some of Al Davis's (literally) trademarked slogans: "Pride and Poise," "Commitment to Excellence," and "Just Win, Baby." Photos of famed players hang in the lobby of the Tribune Tower.

But Raider Nation is far more valuable than just slogans. The most recent Forbes NFL franchise valuations show 19 of 32 clubs being worth at least $1 billion. In Major League Baseball, only the Yankees have a valuation of over $1 billion, as ranked by Forbes.

And the economic importance of the Raiders makes it to the grassroots as well. During last year’s lockout, the NFL Players Association estimated that shutting down the league would cost each city $140 million in revenue. The NFL supports about 110,000 jobs in NFL cities and adds about $5 billion to the economies of those cities (according to Edgeworth Economics).

Let’s be very clear, the Raiders are a nearly billion-dollar enterprise in the midst of our city. Shouldn’t we do everything we can to find them a new home in the city and grow jobs and the economy at the same time?

Oakland is the epicenter of Bay Area sports. We host to the Raiders, the A’s and the Warriors. While two of the teams are making noises about leaving, the Raiders, by way of Amy Trask and Mark Davis, Al’s son, have consistently said that the city, the community, and the fans make this their number one choice for a home for generations to come. Our job as East Bay business leaders is to ensure it stays that way. Let’s win baby.

P.S. – As an aside, if you have read this far, you know the value that the Oakland Business Review has to you, your business and your customers. Please take a moment to consider advertising in some of our upcoming editions and in our on-line properties. You’ll get huge bang for your marketing buck.

Dan Cohen, a principal at Full Court Press,
a full-service public relations, public affairs and crisis communications agency in downtown Oakland, is a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and is chair of the Communications Department.

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