"If we could do a joint stadium in Oakland as an alternative, it is something that I would at least explore."—Jed York, 49ers President
Raiders CEO Amy Trask said earlier in the season that the Raiders were “keeping an open mind” about a shared stadium in Oakland.
This isn't a question about what's best for one franchise or the other. This is a question about what makes the best fiscal sense for the Bay Area, and what solution keeps both teams within their geographical fanbase.
Any Raider fan over the age of 35 should remember the pain of watching the franchise pick up and move south, leaving Oakland in a 13-year-long winter. The Northern California Raider fanbase can't sustain another hit like that and survive.
While York seems committed to keeping the 49ers in the area, Raider fans aren't ready to bet the house on predictions about what Al Davis will do. The Raiders need to stay in the Bay Area, preferably in the East Bay, and preferably in Oakland.
The Raiders' lease with the Coliseum expires this year. The 49ers' lease with The Stick expires in 2012. Both stadiums rank at the bottom in the NFL as two of the oldest and least hospitable to fans and players.
Let's look at some numbers. The projected cost of the new 49er stadium in Santa Clara is approaching $1 billion, most of which would come from public monies.
California has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Both Alameda and Santa Clara Counties are hovering right around 11 percent, while the national average is 10 percent.
How does the Bay Area bleed out, potentially, over $2 billion to house two NFL franchises that, on a clear day, can see each other from across the bay?
It's time to set the "my house" bravado aside and think rationally. Sharing an NFL stadium is not without precedent; the Giants and Jets have been doing it for years. They still have a nasty rivalry yet they manage to survive.
The combined resources of the Raiders and 49ers, partnered with the abundance of technology and innovation in the greater Bay Area, could produce one of the most state-of-the-art stadiums to date. The Bay Area is an ideal locale for a shared stadium. It’s time for the fans to take the blinders off and see what’s at stake here.