A combined stadium for the 49ers and Raiders is the best solution for theirstadium problems — and for the A’s as well.
The 49ers’ need for a new stadium is the most obvious. They’re playing in what was originally designed as a baseball park and modified for football in 1971. Access to the stadium is difficult, and there is no BART connection.
Bathrooms are inadequate and the concourse space is so tight that lines from concession stands block fans trying to get past them.
The Raiders’ situation at McAfee Coliseum, a 1966 structure modified when they came back from Los Angeles for the 1995 season, isn’t much better.
Visibility from lower seats can be blocked by players standing up, and mountain-climbing skills are needed to get to seats in Mount Davis.
In both stadiums, luxury suites are not up to the standard of new stadiums, especially at Monster Park, where the second-deck corridor had to be sealed off so those in luxury suites could use the previously public bathrooms.
The 49ers have been talking of a new stadium adjacent to the Great America amusement park — and near their own facility — in Santa Clara. As usual, though, John York went blundering into this situation with no financial plan. If you don’t have a financial plan, you don’t have a plan.
Optimistically, the 49ers said they wanted a joint venture with Santa Clara, though city officials had said earlier they would not commit public money to the project. They’ve no doubt said the same thing to 49ers officials since.
The Santa Clara site is a good one, though, with easy access from freeways and public transit, including a train that comes from Sacramento.
Now, the 49ers and Raiders are rumored to be talking about building a stadium together. Working together, they could get as much as $300 million from the NFL’s G3 program, as the New York Giants and New York Jets have for their proposed new stadium.
With the two clubs working together, they might also be able to tap into the money sources in Silicon Valley.
If the Raiders were out of McAfee Coliseum when their lease expires in four years, which would be an approximate timeline for a new stadium to be built in Santa Clara, the Coliseum could be remodeled into a baseball-only park for the A’s. Anaheim did that for the Angels when the Rams moved to St. Louis.
That would be a better plan for the A’s than the one they’re talking about in Fremont. That plan might work as a real estate deal but not for a baseball park. Without a BART connection, it could be accessed only from Interstate 880, which is several miles away in one of the most heavily congested traffic corridors in the Bay Area. By contrast, the Coliseum is served by BART, city streets and a freeway that runs right by it.
It would not be easy for the 49ers and Raiders to work together — Al Davis backed out of a two-team stadium plan in Los Angeles in the early ’90s — but there is no longer the animosity between the teams that existed when Carmen Policy was running the Niners. This is so clearly the best idea for the 49ers, Raiders and A’s that everybody involved should be working hard to get it done.