PHOENIX – CEO Jed York said he does not expect the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas to have a significant short-term benefit for the 49ers.
After all, there appears to be a clear delineation between the two fan bases.
“The easy thing to say is this is a great financial gain for the 49ers, which just isn’t the case,” York said from the NFL owners meetings on the 49ers Insider Podcast.
The Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982, leaving the 49ers as the only NFL act in the Bay Area for 13 seasons. During that time the 49ers won four Super Bowls. But there were few tangible benefits to the 49ers that were directly associated with the Raiders' absence from the market.
“You did not see a huge increase in ticket revenue, sponsorship revenue, even in terms of overall exposure in the market, because I think Raiders fans and 49ers fans are just a different group of folks,” York said. “The Raiders fans aren’t necessarily loyal to a certain geographic location. They’re loyal to the Raiders. I think you’ll see those fans follow the Raiders to Las Vegas.”
York said “20-plus percent” of the 49ers’ season-ticket holders live in Alameda County. He said the only change he envisions would be the expansion of some of the 49ers’ philanthropic efforts to some of the East Bay’s underserved communities.
The 49ers’ home, Levi’s Stadium, was built with the design of accommodating two home teams. While the NFL might have preferred the 49ers and Raiders to forge a relationship with a shared stadium, like the New York Giants and Jets, the Raiders never seriously considered a move to the South Bay.
“We had the conversation with Mark (Davis), but when the stadium was up and running in Santa Clara, and Levi’s was really going, it really is the 49ers’ stadium,” York said. “I think there was a little hesitancy of truly being a tenant in somebody else’s stadium, which certainly makes sense that it wasn’t high on their priority list.”
The Raiders figure to remain in the Bay Area for three seasons until their new home in Southern Nevada is ready for NFL action. The Raiders have a lease at the Oakland Coliseum for the 2017 and ’18 seasons. Davis expressed a preference to extend the lease to 2019.
The 49ers would be open to discussing the possibility of the Raiders’ use of Levi’s Stadium – seemingly as a last resort for both sides.
“If that was an opportunity, we’d certainly sit down and discuss it,” York said. “But I think there are a lot of moving pieces right now and it’s really conjecture to talk about 2019 at this point when they’d still obviously prefer to stay at the Coliseum.”