I'm not much of a Star Wars fans, but I have seen all the movies and enjoyed seeing Anakin Skywalker turn into Darth Vader. Upon hearing news that the NFL is urging the 49ers and Raiders to look into sharing a stadium, the first thing I thought of was Jed York working with Al Davis:
I'm sorry, but it was almost too easy to make that comparison.
Now I realize a) other Raiders officials would likely be involved and b) Al Davis could very well be dead by the time the stadium is done. Actually, Al Davis appears like he'll live forever so maybe he'll still be kicking by the time the deal is done. Either way, the thought of them working together is rather intriguing.
The economy is in the tank, and a new football stadium is going to be a pricey proposition. At last check, a 49ers stadium in Santa Clara would run at least $916 million, but probably even more. Obviously the economy is in the tank, but making matters even more difficult is that the NFL ran out of money in their G3 stadium fund. We can tank the Giants, Jets and Chiefs for that.
Given the Raiders own struggles in getting a new stadium, it certainly makes some sense to work something out together. Particularly since the Giants and Jets have been able to make it work. The Giants-Jets new stadium will cost $1.6 billion and the only significant additional construction cost is a second home-team locker room. I don't know enough about labor and constructions costs between the New York area and the Bay Area so I can't really assess the numbers being thrown around. If the 49ers can get a stadium done for roughly a billion dollars and the only major addition would be a second locker room, I can't imagine a number insanely higher. Maybe $1.2B or $1.3B? That's all speculation on my part.
The downside of sharing a stadium? Well, assuming he's still alive during this whole process, Al Davis is not exactly the greatest partner in the world. He's sued everybody from the city of Oakland to the NFL (more than once). In one lawsuit he claimed the NFL diluted his trademark by allowing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to have a pirate logo and letting the Bucs and Carolina Panthers use similar colors. Is this a guy you want to work with?
Raiders President Amy Trask attempted to clear up the misconceptions:
"There seems to be a perception, fostered in large part by the media, that the 49ers and the Raiders have an adversarial business relationship and that perception is wrong," said Amy Trask, the Raiders chief executive. "We enjoy working on league business matters with the 49ers and our two organizations have a shared respect for one another."
I think my issue is just with Al Davis individually, given some of his past actions. However, I do think cooler heads would prevail and a deal could be taken care of. The upside to a shared stadium is keeping the team's in the Bay Area and, of course, more cash. A shared-stadium means more home games, which in turn means personal seat licenses for BOTH teams, greatly increased ticket revenue and the chance for greater advertising in terms of naming rights and general stadium ads.
Whether you hate the Raiders or are indifferent about the Raiders, good business is good business. And I actually think this is a great business idea in theory and in practice (see Jets/Giants). As long as Jed York doesn't end up succumbing to the forces of evil, let's make it happen.