"Holy Toledo!"

July 20, 2011

Strange But True: Raiders & 49ers Discussing Shared Stadium

Filed under: NFL, Oakland Raiders — Bill @ 10:04 am

(The following article was published by the San Francisco Chronicle this morning – see my thoughts below)

49ers, Raiders considering joint football stadium

Vittorio Tafur, Chronicle Staff Writer

In a development that could have a long-range impact on the Bay Area sports landscape, the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders have been meeting to discuss the possibility of sharing a new football stadium.

“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.”

Location, location
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.

NFL encouragement
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.”

Teams have history
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 Mr. 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.”

BILL’s THOUGHT’S:
Be warned Hell is about to freeze over! Perhaps it’s a sign of today’s economic climate or the softening of Al Davis with age because I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. Of course they’re just at the talking stage so let’s not get too excited just yet. I always thought the idea of a joint stadium on Treasure Island would be interesting…

FORREST BLUE DIES
Former 49ers All-Pro center Forrest Blue passed away on Saturday at the age of 65. It has been reported that Blue had spent the last 15 years of his life suffering from dementia believed to be connected to his playing career.

His brain will be sent to Boston University where researchers are studying chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative disease linked to those who have sustained repeated head trauma. CTE is tied to memory loss, depression and dementia, and has been found in the brains of more than 20 former NFL players, including Bears safety Dave Duerson, 50, who committed suicide in February.

The brains of former 49ers running backs Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson also have been sent to Boston University after their deaths this year. Perry, 84, and Johnson, 81, endured severe memory loss in the years prior to their deaths.

Blue was drafted by the 49ers in the 1st round of the 1968 NFL draft out of Auburn. After seven seasons with the 49ers he went on to play four more years with the Baltimore Colts.

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1 Comment »

  1. good to see you back willy.

    Comment by uncle buck — July 20, 2011 @ 11:26 am


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