SBD/Issue 204/Facilities & Venues

Many Feel 49ers Move To Santa Clara Would Be Devastating For S.F.

S.F. Residents, Former Mayors Feel Loss Of
49ers To Santa Clara Would Be Blow To City
Many S.F. residents feel if the 49ers moved to Santa Clara it "would be devastating, in both financial and psychological terms," according to a front-page piece by Tom FitzGerald of the S.F. CHRONICLE as part of a five-part series examining the potential move. Some S.F. residents are "shocked that San Francisco's first major league franchise would move to the South Bay," and they "wonder why there hasn't been more hue and cry in the media." 49ers season-ticket holder Jeff Kruger said the move "would make this a B-team city." Former S.F. Mayor Art Agnos added, "The loss of a team that was born here would be a civic catastrophe. I'd hate to be the mayor under whose watch it happens." And former S.F. Mayor Willie Brown said, "Any town that loses a franchise as marquee and valuable as the 49ers have been would suffer a big loss." FitzGerald notes the economic cost to S.F. if the 49ers move "would be considerable," as a S.F. Recreation & Park Department spokesperson said that the department nets between $1.5-2M "each year from 49ers games after paying for staff and stadium upkeep." The 49ers also would take "many seasonal jobs with them" to Santa Clara. Concessionaire Centerplate "employs more than 400 people," and Contemporary Services Corp. "employs 325 for game security" at Candlestick Park. An additional 80 people "work there as janitors for Costless Maintenance Service." But FitzGerald notes 49ers season-ticket holders who live in S.F. are a "small minority," as they "represent fewer than 1 in 10 season ticket holders." The 49ers said that there are "more season ticket holders from Sacramento County" than from S.F. (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/13). Meanwhile, former team and S.F. officials said that former 49ers Owner Eddie DeBartolo losing ownership of the team in '97 "paved the Niners' road south to Silicon Valley." Former 49ers President Carmen Policy: "If Eddie had not lost control of the team, the stadium project at Candlestick Point would definitely have gone forward" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/12).

INDIVIDUAL PERSPECTIVES: In a special to the S.F. CHRONICLE, S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom wrote the "big picture in San Francisco remains the revitalization of the Bayview, Hunters Point and Candlestick Point neighborhoods," an effort that is "finally close to fruition." And while it would be "only appropriate for the 49ers to be a part of this rebirth," it would "not be fair to the residents of southeast San Francisco to allow any more delays in this plan after so much work has been done to make it happen." Still, Newsom wrote the city's stadium option for the 49ers "remains the most realistic and feasible," and as the city works to "secure rights and approval for the redevelopment, the stadium option will remain on the table for the 49ers for as long as possible" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/12). S.F. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu wrote it is "hard to imagine the 49ers football franchise without" S.F., which is why the city "needs to make every effort to keep the 49ers from moving." The city can "save the 49ers without leveraging the farm: A well-designed stadium will generate sufficient revenue for the franchise." Chiu noted the 49ers have $100M "waiting for them on a parcel down the street from Candlestick Park from a private source," and this commitment "should be honored" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/12). Policy wrote while the 49ers have a "strong fan base in the South Bay," but that is "equally true to the north and east." Policy: "A stadium accommodates the 49er Faithful to a much greater degree if it is located in San Francisco." The team "desperately needs a new stadium, but it must also consider the long-term ramifications of the decisions made during these trying times." It "remains possible to keep promises to a neglected community" in S.F. and "at the same time find a new home for the team" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/12).

Writer Defends 49ers Owners' Interest In
Santa Clara As Smart Business Move
SMART BUSINESS MOVE? In San Jose, Mark Purdy wrote while the 49ers "clearly have not been big winners on the field under" 49ers co-Owners John York and Denise DeBartolo York, "as businesspeople, they are no imbeciles." Santa Clara is a "much better location for a football stadium, both in terms of geography and the marketplace." Purdy wrote of S.F., "Ever since the 49ers decided to cast their fate with Santa Clara, the hard drive envy has returned" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/12).

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