Leiweke Has Pointed Comments About SMG Concerning Operation Of Oakland Complex
The legal complaint filed by SMG over the selection of AEG to take over operations of the Oakland sports complex drew sharp comments from AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. The Joint Power Authority is scheduled to hold a special meeting today where the seven-member board expects to vote again to approve a new management contract for O.co Coliseum and Oracle Arena. In the complaint, SMG, operator of those two facilities for the past 13 years, cited "substantial irregularities" during an April board meeting at which the authority voted 4-3 in favor of negotiating a new deal with AEG. Leiweke, attending Saturday's MLS Dynamo game at BBVA Compass Stadium, said he hoped authority execs would "stay the course and vote the same way they voted last time." "It's unfortunate for the Joint Powers Authority that they had to go through this again," Leiweke said. "If SMG wants to grow their business negatively, then so be it. To me, who in their right minds would want a company like that going out and filing lawsuits to run their building? I can tell you, from our standpoint, if we wouldn't have gotten that vote, we would have moved on. That said, assuming it goes (in our favor), we have already been in touch with the anchor tenants and let them know we are prepared to get in there as quickly as possible and roll up our sleeves and begin to think about ways we can improve the environment for their fans and the teams. I am absolutely convinced we will make a difference there, but we're going to bring a positive attitude to that complex, not a negative, 'defend at all costs' attitude."
EAST BAY FUTURE UNCERTAIN: The future of all three major league tenants in Oakland is up in the air as the authority moves forward with determining the best operator for the arena and the stadium. The A's want to build a new ballpark in San Jose and the Warriors have considered relocating to S.F. The Raiders have been mentioned as a candidate for relocation to a new stadium in L.A., as well as a potential co-tenant with the 49ers at a new stadium under construction in Santa Clara. It is ultimately up to the JPA to make the decisions required to keep those three teams in Oakland, according to Leiweke. Should the authority uphold its decision for AEG to run the sports complex, "They now have someone who builds arenas and stadiums for a living, that's sitting there with them on a daily basis, and I think it will bring a different attitude there," Leiweke said. "People that want to keep that situation the way it is, then I think they are doing a complete disservice to the teams, their fans and the community. That's not us. We think about the future. We're not going to try to defend the past."