That’s right. The new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara next to Great America may be shared with the Oakland Raiders. I’ve posted about the new stadium back in April and June of last year – but it appears that since both teams need a new stadium, Santa Clara may house both teams. The New York Jets and Giants do it, so why not here in the bay area? These teams are used to sharing the field with the A’s and San Francisco Giants anyhow, right?
“We’ve put our teams together,” 49ers Chief Executive Jed York said late Monday at an event for NFL fans in Los Angeles. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to find the right deal that fits for both teams, but we’re certainly going to get a look at those options.”
The Raiders appear amenable to a partnership. “We have said repeatedly that we have an open mind with respect to our stadium solution,” said Raiders chief executive Amy Trask, also on hand for the “NFL 101” event, held at the Los Angeles Coliseum. “An open mind means an open mind as to sharing a facility with the 49ers. I say to Jed regularly that we should have not only an open mind to the sharing of the facility, but to the location of the facility which we might share. And so there are a lot of options for us to consider.”
The location of a shared facility could be the key issue at play. The 49ers have been working on getting a new stadium built for years, most recently setting their sights on Santa Clara, where the team also has its headquarters. In June 2010, Santa Clara passed a measure that would provide $114 million of public money to build a 68,500-seat stadium. However, the total cost of the project could be near $1 billion, and it is not clear where the 49ers would get the rest of the money. Prior to the Santa Clara project, the team had gained public financing to build a stadium near Candlestick Park.
The Raiders and the 49ers play in two of the NFL’s oldest stadiums. The Raiders have pursued building a new facility on the same site, finding little success or support. The team’s lease at the Oakland Coliseum runs through the 2013 season. The 49ers have said a stadium in Santa Clara could be ready by 2015. A joint venture between the two teams likely would make NFL leadership happy. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said repeatedly the teams should consider building a stadium together, especially considering the current economic climate for financing. “Well, I’d encourage them to evaluate it, because it has worked in New York,” Goodell said in October. “Getting a stadium built is a challenge, particularly in this environment. I encourage them to take a look at that and evaluate it.”
Former 49ers President Carmen Policy is still holding out hope that the team can strike a deal with his current employer, Lennar Corp., to build a stadium in San Francisco. A partnership with the Raiders could help that deal along. “You have a league that has no plan in place to support the building of new stadiums,” Policy told The Chronicle in a recent interview, referring to the NFL’s lack of a financing arm. “You can’t finance that deal in Santa Clara. I’m not sure you can in San Francisco, either.” “I believe the league has an internal belief that the only way to build a world-class stadium in the Bay Area would be a two-team stadium,” Policy said.
York and Trask are now headed to Atlanta, where the NFL’s owners hope to ratify a collective bargaining agreement and end the league’s 130-day labor lockout. York had originally planned to start play in a $987 million facility in 2014, but the labor uncertainty pushed his plans back a year. “We have all of our approvals done,” York said. “We just announced publicly where we are with suite sales. … We’re close to $140 million in suite revenue for the new stadium. We’re moving forward.”
York said the 49ers may need help from the team across the bay to close the deal, and said they have a long history of working together with the Raiders. “One of the things that I think a lot of people don’t realize about the 49ers and the Raiders is that the person who brokered the deal when my grandfather bought the team was Al Davis,” York said. “So it’s not like there is any bad blood. You need to look at that. When you’re talking about a billion-dollar investment, and there’s not a lot of public money in California to build these stadiums, you need to look at those things and that’s something that we’ve done.”
Trask laughed off the idea that Raiders fans wouldn’t want to share a stadium with the hated 49ers. “Here’s a news flash,” she said. “They’re not going to be there on the same day. And if they are playing each other, they’re going to be there on the same day irrespective of whose stadium we’re playing in.”