Raiders 49ers should share floating stadium

The conventional wisdom is that the only way for the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers get a new stadium is if they agree to go the route of the New York Jets and Giants and share a stadium.

Unlike the two New York teams that actually play in New Jersey, there is a geographical rivalry between Oakland and San Francisco, with the South Bay considered a poor relation despite that having become the economic epicenter of the Bay Area.

For the Raider fans, the idea of going into San Francisco or the south bay to see the Raiders is heresy. They have no use for the “wine sipping” side of the bay. By the same token, 49er fans have no desire to come to the East Bay to mingle with the “thugs” in Oakland. Both sides have their own regional pride and are reluctant at best to have both teams end up in the San Jose area.

The city of Santa Clara did recently pass a measure aimed at getting the new 49er or shared stadium placed in that city. However, as those who follow California politics know, that does not mean that the saga is over. San Francisco had previously passed a local initiative aimed at building a stadium but it never came to pass.

The question becomes how can a stadium be built for both teams to share that allows both teams to maintain their own regional location? It would seem to be impossible to make everyone happy.

Build the stadium on a barge.

Oakland and San Francisco are only separated by less than ten miles of water. A floating stadium could be docked at any number of locations in Oakland or San Francisco. The stadium could be docked on either side of the bay depending on which team had a home game.

When the Raiders have a home game, they could be centered at Jack London Square which has numerous restaurants where fans could enjoy pre or post game meals or drinks. For the out of town fans, there are multiple hotels right on the Square. The 49ers could select from numerous spots along the San Francisco waterfront.

The cities would only have to worry about docking infrastructure as well as parking and public transit. It would also reduce the cost of the stadium as a floating stadium would not need to be as seismically reinforced as a land based stadium. The water would absorb the seismic energy coming from the ground and the shaking would be diffused.

This is something that should be explored. There are people with much more engineering experience than I that would need to sign off on it, but it is a radical solution to a tough problem.

About Patrick A. Patterson, Senior Writer

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