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Volume 21 No. 2
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Sustainability and technology key themes in selling 49ers’ proposed stadium

San Francisco 49ers Chief Sales Officer John Vidalin is selling naming rights and other marketing assets around a proposed $937 million stadium in Santa Clara that has not yet been fully funded. Last week, the team also tabbed CAA Sports to assist in the naming-rights sales. Vidalin spoke with editor-at-large Terry Lefton about the vision for the 49ers’ new home.

What’s going to make this stadium unique?

VIDALIN: The vision is to make it the most environmentally sound stadium, a building of sustainability, technology that will be built with an open-source platform where technology and fan experience are intertwined, whether you are a technology company or a fan.

Given Silicon Valley’s proximity, will you be shocked if your naming-rights deal doesn’t come from the technology sector?

VIDALIN:  We’ve already had discussions with blue-chip brands inside and outside of the technology space. It will depend on the deal, but it could be a great fit with a company that aligns with the mission and values of sustainability and technology we are pushing. Many traditional brands have a sustainability or technology play in their DNA. Of course, we are in the heart of a technology market, but it’s also a top market and a very international market. So it could make sense for a lot of reasons.

There’s still some doubt locally that the stadium will be built, since it isn’t totally funded. Is there any doubt in your mind that it will get built?

VIDALIN: We’re still in the infancy stages of the financing piece, but the city of Santa Clara is on board, so I think we are well on our way.

Hard to believe that the labor uncertainty would affect sales of naming rights, but has the prospect of a delayed season or no NFL season affected sales per se?

VIDALIN: It’s been business as usual. We’ve had an awful lot of meetings, no different from any other year.