National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell has raised the prospect of the Oakland Raiders sharing the new home of the San Francisco 49ers as a means to end the former franchise’s stadium frustrations.
The 49ers will this season move into their new $1.2bn (€882.4m) Levi’s Stadium, with local rival the Raiders continuing in a dispute with MLB baseball team the Oakland Athletics over the future of the Coliseum – the facility that the two teams share.
“Well, we have two pro teams in the Bay Area,” Goodell said, according to the NFL.com website. “Obviously, the stadium issue in Oakland's going to have to be resolved, too. We believe a new stadium is appropriate for the Raiders. They have to make that determination whether they're in a new stadium in Oakland or whether they feel that it's best to join this stadium (Levi’s Stadium). We're working on that, and that's one of the decisions they'll have to make.”
The Coliseum is also the only stadium in the US that doubles up as a venue for an MLB and NFL team. The Raiders are in the final year of their lease at the Coliseum and are interested in building a new stadium at the site, with owner Mark Davis reluctant to be a renter in another team’s home.
Oakland City Council on Wednesday approved a 10-year lease to keep the Athletics at the Coliseum, but with several modifications that left it “disappointed,” according to A’s team president Mike Crowley. The A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968, but the stadium has been hit with numerous issues in recent years, most notably sewage problems.
Goodell made his comments at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Levi’s Stadium on Thursday. The 68,500-seat stadium will see the 49ers move 45 miles south of downtown San Francisco – the longest distance any team in the league has to the city that bears its name. The 49ers had played in San Francisco since their establishment in 1946, including the past 43 years at Candlestick Park. The team’s chief executive Jed York has previously stated he is open to the idea of two teams playing at the new venue.