OAKLAND — With a major obstacle out of the way for one of the Bay Area's pro football teams to move southward, might a certain silver-and-black-clad team that also wants a new stadium follow?
It's not as sure a thing as an extra point.
A day after Santa Clara voters passed Measure J, a $937 million stadium deal that may bring the San Francisco 49ers to Silicon Valley, Oakland leaders and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum officials said they had no plans to stop looking into the possibility of a new football-only stadium for the Raiders at the Coliseum's current site.
"I'm still confident the Coliseum site is a better site than any other place," said Oakland Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente, who serves as vice chairman of the Coliseum Authority's board. "There's no way Santa Clara or San Francisco can build the infrastructure that's already in place at the Coliseum."
Despite only a little talk so far of the Raiders and 49ers sharing what could be a new, state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara, rumors of such a partnership are bound to start to swirl. The deal between Santa Clara and the 49ers allows for a two-team stadium, and it is widely known that NFL officials like the idea of teams in two-team markets sharing stadiums — such as in New York.
Amy Trask, the Raiders' chief executive, said that the team already has offered the 49ers "our sincere congratulations and best wishes" and that the Raiders "enjoy a
Trask, however, added the team is talking to East Bay officials for its possible new stadium.
"We are working with Oakland, Alameda County and stadium representatives on an urban renovation project in which a stadium can serve as the hub of a large-scale, urban redevelopment which will provide economic stimulus and revitalization for the entire region," Trask said.
That sentiment was echoed by De La Fuente, who said that along with the transportation and infrastructure benefits of the Coliseum area, other amenities such as being close to the water could make the entire site an entertainment hub.
"This could be a destination spot for sports and entertainment," De La Fuente said.
De La Fuente added that just because Santa Clara residents passed Tuesday's measure, other hurdles remain in building the stadium there, such as the hundreds of millions of dollars the 49ers must secure in financing.
Also, it would not be the first time the 49ers won voter approval for a new stadium that did not materialize. In 1997, San Francisco voters approved a new stadium and mall project at Hunters Point.
In February, the authority's board authorized a feasibility study to look at the possibility of building a new football-only stadium at the Coliseum's current site. The study will look at things such as what kinds of revenue a new stadium would bring and where funding for such a project could be found. It also will look at the possibility of two football teams playing at the stadium.
Deena McClain, executive director of the authority, said the study is expected to be completed next month.
"We plan to continue exploring a new stadium in Oakland, recognizing that Measure J is just the beginning of the process," McClain said. "We still believe the Oakland site is superior for many reasons."