SBD/December 14, 2011/Facilities

Santa Clara Approves 49ers Stadium Deal; Last Step Will Be NFL Funding

49ers are confident they will get NFL funds then complete loan deal by end of April
Santa Clara leaders yesterday “enthusiastically endorsed the deal to fund and build a new 49ers stadium, leaving one final obstacle before pro football comes charging into the South Bay: a huge cash infusion from the NFL,” according to Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. City Council members, acting “as the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, unanimously voted to tap $850 million in bank loans to begin construction within the next year, as dozens of supporters -- including business groups, unions and fans in 49ers jerseys -- wildly applauded.” Despite the “elation from the team, city officials and other supporters, the deal isn't done just yet: Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and U.S. Bank won't agree to the loan until the NFL commits to finance at least $150 million to pay for the rest of the $1 billion stadium.” The NFL owners are meeting today and “will receive a briefing on the 49ers stadium but no vote is scheduled.” But the 49ers “are confident that they will get the league funds then complete the loan deal by the end of April.” In “another sign of confidence, a newly released letter from the banks shows the 49ers are targeting a 2014 stadium opening -- a year earlier than planned -- and will try to break their lease at Candlestick Park after 2013” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/14). In S.F., Stephanie Lee in a front-page piece notes that the construction loan is “expected to be repaid over the next 25 years from ticket sales, rent from the team and naming rights.” The city is “chipping in $114 million, as approved by voters in June 2010, and the National Football League is expected to contribute $150 million.” The team, which “would pay $30 million annually to use the stadium, has pledged to cover any construction cost overruns and loan costs if revenue falls short.” Santa Clara city officials said that “no general fund money will be spent” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/14).

ON THE TRADE MARKET? In S.F., C.W. Nevius wrote the city has “nearly lost the 49ers to Santa Clara, but there's talk it can build a basketball arena in Mission Bay.” A state-of-the-art arena for the Warriors “would be a huge asset,” and those putting the deal together “are predicting as many as 100 events a year.” That starts with 41 NBA regular-season home games, then “book a full slate of concerts and shows.” It could be “a spectacular venue built right on the bay, perhaps over the water on a pier.” MLB Giants fans have “already proved that public transportation works well there.” Nevius: “I'd make that trade in a second” (SFGATE.com, 12/13).
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