The Raiders participated in discussions about sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, but when former owner Al Davis died in 2011, the notion to have both Bay Area teams as tenants halted.
But experts and stakeholders told Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today reports now would be the time to reconsider this idea, with the Raiders pushing hard for a new stadium in Oakland, or entertaining discussions with Las Vegas, San Diego, and waiting on the Chargers to officially decide on Los Angeles.
“It certainly was not (Davis’) first choice, but he did understand the economic efficiency of sharing a building,” former Raiders chief executive Amy Trask told Schrotenboer. “… Al was not as adamantly against it as is current ownership. My conversations with Al went something like this: I would update him on my discussions with the 49ers, and he would immediately say, ‘Hey, I’m not sharing that stadium.’ And then after a beat or two, he would say, ‘Show me the numbers.'”
Mark Davis and the Raiders’ current power structure do not share Al Davis’ pragmatism when it comes to sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, but the NFL financially supported the $1.2 billion stadium that’s set to host Super
Bowl 50 on the basis that two teams would play there, USA Today reports. The NFL confirmed it allotted $200MM to assist with Levi’s Stadium’s cost on this condition.
“Levi’s Stadium was built to accommodate two home teams,” Jamie Matthews, mayor of Santa Clara and chairman of the public stadium authority that owns the stadium, told USA Today. “We already have the locker rooms built for two home teams. We set up the LED lighting so they could change the whole feel of the stadium with the flick of a switch. All the environmental work on it has been completed, and all the work permits. If we had a second team, they could move in tomorrow.”
This would seem a logical solution for the Raiders, who this week discussed playing 2016 on another one-year lease at 50-year-old O.co Coliseum as they’ve done for the past two years. But Mark Davis remains vehemently opposed to sharing the new stadium with the 49ers, and the lack of progress between these two sides led the Raiders to enter the Carson, Calif.-based project with the Chargers, USA Today notes. With that no longer being a viable avenue, waiting out the Chargers seems to be the franchise’s next step.
One sticking point are the stadium’s red seats, but that’s a negotiable item, Schrotenboer writes. Another is the Raiders being a subtenant of the 49ers’, which would also be the case in Inglewood.
A second team joining the 49ers would mean the teams splitting the stadium’s rent, which is set to increase from only $24MM to $25MM for this coming season, USA Today reports. City records also note the 49ers collected more than $83MM in revenue, with only 10% of that going to the stadium authority to assist with the structure’s cost, per Schrotenboer.
“I think the Raiders really want to do their own thing,” sports consultant Mark Ganis told USA Today. “They want their own stadium in the East Bay, but as a free agent they have a lot of places they can go.”
The Raiders and the city of Oakland have not engaged in formal discussions on a new Bay Area stadium since the NFL owners’ meetings in Houston earlier this month.
Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images