The Black Hole at 49ers' home games? It could come to be, if the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders elect to share a home stadium, as the two teams are considering.
Representatives from both National Football League franchises are meeting, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday. "We've put our teams together," Jed York, the 49ers' youthful chief executive told the newspaper. Added Amy Trask, the CEO of the Raiders, "We have an open mind with respect to our stadium solution."
Keep in mind that while the 49ers' plan to build a stadium in Santa Clara is far from a state secret, it's difficult for any entity -- NFL team or otherwise -- to finance such an ambitious project single-handedly. With only $140 million of nearly $1 billion required secured for the Santa Clara deal, and no money coming in from the NFL, the 49ers need to keep all their options open, even if that means sharing real estate with their rivals from across the Bay.
Both teams play in notoriously un-sexy stadiums: Candlestick Park and the Oakland Coliseum are two of the oldest stadiums in the league. The Raiders' lease on the Coliseum ends in 2013, and the 49ers say the earliest they can begin play in Santa Clara would be 2015, the newspaper reported.
Such a joint-stadium venture would please the NFL, according to the newspaper, but first the league needs to figure out how to play any games at all. The team owners, including the 49ers' Yorks and the Raiders' Al Davis, are working to end the 130-day lockout in time for the 2011 NFL season.
It's possible that a two-team stadium deal could include a playing field in San Francisco.