The board that oversees the Oakland Coliseum complex voted Friday by a narrow 4-3 margin to enter into negotiations with Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment company AEG to run the complex for the next five years.
If the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority and AEG, which is owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, can reach an agreement on a contract, it would mean the end of SMG's 13-year tenure of running the complex, which consists of the Oakland Coliseum and the Oracle Arena.
The Oakland A's baseball team and the Oakland Raiders football team play at the Coliseum, and the Golden State Warriors basketball team plays at the Oracle Arena.
The arena is also used for concerts for big-time performers.
Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, one of the board members on the Joint Powers Authority, said he voted against entering into
negotiations with SMG at the board's meeting on Friday because four of his colleagues asked for more time to review the proposals by AEG, Philadelphia-based SMG and a third bidder, Global Spectrum, a subsidiary of Comcast which also is based in Philadelphia.
De La Fuente said he had read all of the proposals before the meeting but he thought the request by some of his colleagues for a delay was
reasonable because many if the details came in at the last minute and they
had not had time to review everything.
He said it would have been better to wait two weeks so that the board would have had "a more united front" instead of being divided.
But Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, another board member and one of the four members who voted for AEG, said he thinks it was important to vote on Friday because he wants a management company in place before the football season starts in the fall.
Haggerty said, "These proposals have been vetted and a further delay would only have made the selection process even more political because it's been getting more political on a daily basis."
Haggerty said he thinks AEG is a good choice because it has experience managing football stadiums, including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum when the Raiders played in Los Angeles.
The future of all three teams that play at the Coliseum complex is uncertain, as the A's have talked about moving to San Jose, the Warriors have explored the possibility of moving to San Francisco, and there is speculation that the Raiders might leave Oakland after their lease at the Coliseum expires next year.
But Haggerty said, "I want to retain all teams" and said he thinks AEG can help keep them in Oakland because he believes they are a strong management company as well as a development firm and they know how to maximize revenues both for themselves and their partners.
Chris Wright, AEG's vice president of facilities, said the company plans to "help the bottom line" by maximizing the number of shows and the variety of entertainment at the Oracle Arena.
Wright said AEG has operations in more than 100 locations spread over five continents. He said the company recently entered into contracts to build and manage stadiums in Brazil that will be used for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
He said AEG is hopeful that the contract to run the Coliseum complex will be finalized quickly. He said the initial contract would be for five years with an option to extend it for another five years.