29 January 2007

Niners and Raiders sittin' in a tree

Could it be a marriage made in heaven? Or at least Santa Clara?

Matier and Ross revealed in this morning's column that 49er officials met with their Raider counterparts "in a casual setting in the latter half of the football season about the possibility of teaming up." Later in the afternoon, the 49ers issued a release denying such talks occurred. The idea of the two NFL franchises sharing a stadium has been floated here and elsewhere. Is it feasible?

The concept (if not the location) may be the most feasible for this area. The NYC market can only get one stadium built for its two megabucks teams. Despite decades of fierce loyalty, the Redskins' FedEx Field was privately built, while built-up longing and disappointment helped broker a sweetheart deal for the Ravens. We know that public money is scarce at best for the 49ers and Raiders, as is land. So the better question may be:

Why are they pursuing separate venues

Just as with the A's situation, I'm not terribly particular about the eventual location of a stadium. The 49ers have been pumping up the Great America site, which sounds good on paper. It has transit links, plenty of parking nearby, and some land nearby which could be leveraged for development-based financing. Yet the 49ers' apparent overtures towards the Raiders indicates that the financing part is far from complete. I've expressed my doubts about how the team is going to pay for this.

From a practical standpoint, sharing a venue makes a lot of sense.
  • The two teams will play 20-24 games total per year including playoffs.
  • The exposure that having two teams will bring to the venue makes naming rights much more attractive for potential bidders - perhaps twice as lucrative.
  • Having a single venue means that the two teams won't be competing for a Super Bowl bid. They can throw their resources into co-hosting the bid, collectively getting better chances in the process even for repeat hostings.
  • The host city will be that much more interested in "helping" because of the promise of twice as many NFL dates.
  • Success with the venue would cascade down to the possibility of a high profile bowl game (yes I'm pointing at you, Emerald Bowl).
Of course, pragmatism often doesn't rule such proceedings. Greed does. Still, this is a positive step that shows that 49ers management may have a better read on the market than most of the public gives them credit for. As for the Raiders, they understand that compared to a decade ago, they are in a position of weakness on and off the field. They're now beggars, not choosers, so a lack of options could very well drive them towards this kind of deal. Will the fans of the respective teams stand for it? Sounds like a tougher bargain to me.

BTW - I know I'm going to get asked this - I'd prefer Treasure Island even though it's a logistical nightmare (BART station at Yerba Buena Island included). Then one of the cities - take your pick.


Anonymous said...

As far as Im concerned, the Raiders have their stadium. Its not a bad idea but as an A's fan, the Raiders received their stadium when they moved back to Oakland. Oakland put up way too much money and it costs the A's their future in Oakland when it was a the A's who stayed loyal, not Davis. As far as a 49er fan, I just want it to get it done in over with, Eddie had the ball rolling and we're still at square one, just get it done York.

Anonymous said...

good idea, but should be done in Oakland. no huge garage necessary and both fan markets closer.

Jeff P said...

Partisan politics aside, this could be an opportunity for the city of Oakland to steal some its more renknowned neighbors thunder. It is entirely concievable that the current Coli site could be a suitable location to build a joint stadium for both the Raiders and Niners. It would require adroit political maunevering and a unified political approach....which pretty much kills the idea in Oakland.

Jeffrey said...

The most logical place for this, in my mind, is the Oakland Coliseum. Blow up the baseball side and turn the place into York Peak, Mt. Davis and The Valley of Great Football Past.

Anonymous said...

"Just as with the A's situation, I'm not terribly particular about the EVENTUAL location of a stadium." You mean to tell me Pacific Commons/Fremont isn't a lock for Cisco Field?? Anyhow, I agree that a joint stadium for the Raiders/Niners makes too much sense in terms of dollars. I also agree that the current coliseum site would make an excellent location for such a stadium. However, stadium site isn't what's being discussed in the media (it's all about Santa Clara). Second, it's not a matter of being closer to a supposed "fan market;" being closer to the corporate market of Silicon Valley is what really matters. As a Raiders fan living in San Jose, I'm all for a joint Santa Clara Stadium. Food for thought; a co-worker with roots in Jersey is a die-hard Giants fan who abhors the Jets. Yet both the football G-Men and Jets have had a joint stadium marriage (with new digs on the horizon) for some time now. My point? It can work in terms of fan bases that hate each other!! Marinelayer, I read earlier this year that Eddie DeBartolo and/or Steve Young/Brent Jones were interested in buying a 30% stake in the Raiders; would such a development have any relevance to this current joint stadium rumor? Just curious on your thoughts.

Marine Layer said...

Nothing's a lock until dirt's moved and you hear the sound of piledrivers.

The 31% share of the Raiders has no power or control attached to it. That's why no one's shown any real interest. No one these days think they won't get screwed or sued by Al. It's up to him to change that perception. If he were to sell controlling interest then suitors would definitely be interested, but AFAIK he's keeping it in the family (and I can't blame him for that).

A shared stadium deal has to be borne of desperation. The Jets had their West Side stadium efforts destroyed by the MSG/Cablevision folks and scurried over the river. Neither the 49ers nor Raiders are in a desperate position yet. The next few years promise to be interesting times for both teams.

Transic said...

The Jets had their West Side stadium efforts destroyed by the MSG/Cablevision folks and scurried over the river. Neither the 49ers nor Raiders are in a desperate position yet.

And yet the Jets are set to win big with the joint Giants/Jets proposed stadium. First of all, the name "Giants Stadium" is about to go off the marquee. If you don't think that has any psychological effect on the fans in the New York/New Jersey area then you don't know fans. For years, Giants fans took great pleasure at taunting their neighbors as being just "renters" in "their" stadium (Yes, the state of New Jersey, through the Meadowlands Authority, own the stadium).

Second, it now appears that the Giants and Jets need each other. The price tag, at last report, has risen to $1.4 billion. I doubt any club, even the richest ones, could afford such a cost on their own. They're going to lease the land under which the stadium is to be built for 99 years. It makes sense that they'd want to build the "gold standard" of stadia. This is a serious commitment, any way you look at it.

I see similar circumstances happening with the Niners/Raiders. Could the Raiders move to L.A. again? Probably. Would they get anywhere near the deal they got to move back to the Coliseum? Unlikely! L.A. won't even pony up for a potential expansion team, let alone an existing one. And that position looks to be hardcore. Couple that with the fact that L.A. benefits from having no territorial restrictions on what games can be televised there and they're not in an urgent mood to bring a team back in.

Do keep in mind that, just like the "New York" teams in New Jersey, it would be awkward to have the "San Francisco" Niners and "Oakland" Raiders not playing in their respective cities. Perhaps it would be better to just drop the city names all together and skip the charade if it comes to pass.

Then again, owning an NFL franchise and holding it is not a bad business arrangement. Just look at the Bidwills.

Daniel said...

Is there any chance that a Raiders move to a joint stadium in Santa Clara would reopen the Coliseum site for the A's? That is, if the Pacific Commons site becomes untenable.

Or is the timing/probability too far off?