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Bay Area stadium mess

Proposed 49er Stadium in Santa Clara

The Bay area is home to some great professional sports franchises. The SF Giants, SF 49ers, Oakland A’s, Oakland Raiders, and San Jose Sharks are considered the top-tier organizations in the area. All five teams have historic roots in the Bay area and would love nothing more than to stay here for the rest of their days. There’s only one major problem from preventing that from happening. Only two the those teams (Sharks and Giants) are happy with their current stadium situations.

The 49ers are unhappy with their current home at Candlestick Park which is over 50 years old. They have been there since 1971, and some of the greatest moments in NFL history have taken places their (The Catch), but the stadium is nowhere near the quality of what a current NFL stadium should be. The Niners are on their way towards getting a new stadium built-in Santa Clara where the teams facility is currently located. The team has raised $150 million towards the new stadium but the estimated cost is around $1 billion.

Cisco Field is the proposed home for A's in San Jose

The Oakland Athletics, who play at O.co Coliseum, have been trying to get a new stadium built since owner Lew Wolff purchased the team in 2005. Not only is the O.co Coliseum old and outdated, it was built to be a football stadium forcing the A’s to tarp off the top deck of the stadium. Beginning in 2012, the A’s will be the only MLB team to share a stadium with another professional sports franchise. The A’s have been trying to build a new ball park in San Jose (currently named Cisco Field) but are being blocked by the Giants claim of territorial rights on San Jose. Wolff and the A’s are currently waiting for a decision from MLB commissioner Bud Selig on whether they can continue on with their plan to build in San Jose.

Al Davis has been trying to get his Oakland Raiders, who also currently play at O.co Coliseum, a new stadium ever since he moved the team back to Oakland in 1995. The Coliseum rivals Candlestick Park as one of the worst stadiums in the NFL. The concrete stadium is severely outdated and doesn’t have as many luxury boxes as Mr. Davis would like. The Raiders have stated they like the current location of the coliseum and would like to have a new stadium built-in its place. Davis has also said he would consider moving the team back to LA if he can’t get a new stadium built-in the bay area.

All this sounds great right? Everybody gets a brand new stadium they could call home all to them selves. I don’t think this is the way it will play out, despite the teams wishes. Here are a few of the scenarios I could see playing out.

  1. The A’s get their stadium in San Jose along with the 49ers moving to Santa Clara. The Raiders are left out with a move to LA becoming a big possibility. In order for this to play out the MLB would have to rule in favor of the Athletics in the territorial rights case with the Giants. Wolff would have to then pull together enough funding for the stadium estimated at costing around $500 million. The 49ers gain the proper funding on their own between the city of Santa Clara and private investors. The NFL doesn’t help because it won’t be the multi-team stadium they want.
  2. The 49ers and Raiders move in to the new Santa Clara stadium with the NFL footing a significant portion of the bill (much like they did with the Jets and Giants in New York). Both teams have remained open to sharing a stadium but the Niners have been trying to do it on their own so far. I think eventually they will figure out that a two team stadium is the only way this is fiscally possible. The Athletics mean while are left in Oakland as the only professional team. The city of Oakland may be more inclined to help renovate the coliseum in order to keep a pro team there. Jack London square has also been mentioned but funding would again be an issue.
  3. The 49ers move to Santa Clara, the A’s move to San Jose, and the Raiders get a new stadium built-in the same place in Oakland possibly sharing the Santa Clara facility for a couple of years. I think this is the least likely of the scenarios to happen but as a fan this is what I’m hoping for. When it comes down to it, the A’s have to move down to San Jose. They can’t compete with the Giants with the rundown facility they use now in Oakland. The Niners are trying every thing they can to get this stadium built-in Santa Clara. If they want it all to themselves then there going to have to secure funding for the whole thing on their own. The Raiders would ideally like to stay right where they are in Oakland. If the first two moves happen with the other Bay Area teams, Davis will have the leverage he needs to get a stadium built at the site of the current coliseum. I doubt the city Oakland would like to lose to professional teams in less than 5 years. Obviously the Raiders would have the same issues as the 49ers are with securing funding.

If I had to guess, I would put my money on number two as the most likely option. Both the 49ers and the Raiders would have a difficult time securing funding for a stadium on their own. A $300 million check from the NFL would go along way to help get a new stadium built. The only thing in the way would be the 49ers willingness to share and if Al Davis has the desire to move his team to the south bay. Only time will tell…..

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