It was all confetti and shovels when the 49ers and officials in Santa Clara broke ground on a new NFL stadium. Now, some folks in Santa Clara are feeling a bit betrayed.
As Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News explains it, the team’s deal to get out of its Candlestick Park lease has resulted in some concessions with which the team’s new hometown isn’t all that comfortable.
For example, the 49ers and San Francisco have agreed that the team and the city will lead the effort to lure a Super Bowl (preferably the 50th one) to the new venue, leaving Santa Clara out in the cold.
“Part of the pitch for doing the stadium was the tremendous revenue that would be generated by a Super Bowl, Santa Clara Councilwoman Jamie McLeod, who opposes the stadium, told Rosenberg. “My assumption is if it’s an exclusive partnership between the city of San Francisco and the team to bring the Super Bowl in, then the city of San Francisco will receive most of the benefits.”
Actually, she’s probably missing the point. Hosting a Super Bowl typically entails the involvement of multiple cities, in order to ensure that sufficient facilities, like hotel and media space, will be available. Having San Francisco lead the charge is no less reasonable than having the team keep “San Francisco” in its name. If, in the end, having San Francisco front the effort makes the effort more likely to succeed, it makes plenty of sense to do it that way.
Perhaps more legitimately troubling is the team’s promise to give 500 game-day jobs to Candlestick Park employs, which eats into 19 percent of the work force at the new stadium.
“It directly contradicts what the team committed to,” McLeod told Rosenberg.
That said, Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews isn’t complaining. “I have no doubt that all of our hotels will be filled,” Matthews told Rosenberg. “There will be parties and events set up all around Silicon Valley, and it will be the place to be during the Super Bowl.”
Matthews also isn’t concerned about the loss of some game-day jobs. “This project is too big for any one city to expect to retain all the jobs within it. It’s going to be a regional facility.”
The bottom line for Santa Clara is that the deal was necessary in order to allow the 49ers to get out of their lease one year early. Still, the fact that the 49ers didn’t tell Santa Clara about the possible deal until after it was done will understandably create some concern — and it will give some raw meat to those who didn’t want the stadium to be built there in the first place.