SBD/Issue 185/Facilities & Venues

Santa Clara Voters Approve Partial Funding For 49ers Stadium

Santa Clara 49ers Stadium Closer To Reality
After Voters Approve Deal

Santa Clara voters yesterday passed by an "overwhelming margin" Measure J, approving a deal for partial public funding toward a $937M 49ers stadium, according to Howard Mintz of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The measure calls for "construction of a 68,500-seat stadium projected to open" for the '14 NFL season. Santa Clara residents "apparently shrugged off worries that the deal could expose the city to financial risk in the future, as well as any reservations about a package of $114 million in public contributions to help pay for the pricey project." The 49ers now "must secure hundreds of millions of dollars in financing in tight economic times to ensure it can break ground in two years on a new home next to the Great America theme park." But Measure J had "long been considered the critical hurdle in the team's quest to replace Candlestick Park, one of the NFL's most outdated stadiums." 49ers President & CEO Jed York: "It makes it a lot easier to get a stadium built in Northern California. It's now full go-ahead in Santa Clara" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/9). In S.F., John Wildermuth notes the vote came after the 49ers "spent an astonishing $4 million-plus on a campaign in a city with only 46,000 registered voters." Meanwhile, S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom "has argued that Santa Clara's stadium election does not guarantee that the 49ers will leave the city, which will move ahead with plans for a new stadium site as part of the Hunters Point Shipyard redevelopment project." Newsom has said that the "numbers don't work for a Santa Clara stadium ... and when the 49ers realize that, San Francisco's plan will look better and better" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/9).

SCORE ONE FOR THE 49ERS: In S.F., David White reports York now "believes the 49ers will be in their South Bay home four NFL seasons from now." York: "It looks good. This is a big step. ... We look to be playing football in a new stadium in 2014." He added, "We've done a lot of work leading up to this, 3 1/2 years of work making sure we had a feasible project we could take to the voters. We put together a deal that was good for the city and good for the 49ers." York said that the team "'absolutely' ... will be able to come up with their significant end of the deal of a stadium that could cost at least" $1B. He also believes that the NFL "will help the 49ers finance the stadium with a loan program as part" of the new CBA. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "visited with Santa Clara officials last month to express his support for the measure." York noted that the 49ers are "not interested in taking on additional investors to help complete the project" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/9). FANHOUSE.com's Nancy Gay writes Measure J's approval was the "boost the franchise needed to finally begin construction of a state-of-the-art stadium facility, in a state strangled by debt and high unemployment, and historically reluctant to contribute public funding for sports arenas." York said, "It makes it a lot easier to get a stadium built in Northern California" (FANHOUSE.com, 6/9). In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes the proposed stadium site is "perfect in terms of public transit access, tailgating and weather." Compared with S.F.'s "best proposal -- a stadium built on a former toxic waste site on an abandoned naval base in an isolated part of the city with limited street access -- the Santa Clara plan always was far superior" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/9).

LONG WAY FROM HOME: In California, Gary Peterson writes last night's vote is "not to be confused with a touchdown" and is "more like a first-and-10 from midfield." The 49ers "still have to cough up most of the $937 million it will take to make this project fly" and will "have to convince the NFL to contribute money it says it doesn't have." It also would be "naive to think" that Cedar Fair Entertainment, owner of Great America, "won't be heard from at some point in the near future." Peterson: "Santa Clara is still in the game, though with miles to run before it dares plan the victory parade" (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 6/9).

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