The 49ers forgot to tell Santa Clara about their stadium renovations

Anyone who has taken even a slight interest in the relationship between the city of Santa Clara and the San Francsico 49ers knows that it is arguably the most strained marriage in all sports between a team and its sports home city.

In 2017, an audit showed that the 49ers were using taxpayer money to subsidize stadium expenses that they themselves should have paid for.

“A contractual agreement caps public safety costs for the team at $1.7 million a year, with 3 percent annual increases. But according to the Merc report, the 49ers surpassed that limit every year, requiring the city’s Stadium Authority—a City Council-run commission that oversees Levi’s and leases the property to the NFL team—to dip into its discretionary fund to pay the extra cost.”

– San Jose Inside, 07-13-17

For years now, the mayor and city officials have argued that the 49ers were and continue to withhold non-NFL event revenue from the city. The 49ers decided that instead of just correcting the city officials with information, they would spent millions on local elections to vote out anyone who thinks that the 49ers are withholding anything. Essentially, the 49ers wanted a voting bloc on the city council that would stonewall anyone wanting actual transparency.

In October of last year, a civil grand jury report noted that the city of Santa Clara lost $2.8 million on eight non-NFL events in 2019-20 and that the 49ers stadium management company had “not been forthcoming with detailed documentation.” The San Francisco Chronicle also reported that while the report was being done, a 49ers executive followed, investigated and harassed jurors.

– City of Santa Clara Twitter
Therefore, when non-NFL events occur at the stadium, the best-case scenario is that the city breaks even. In fact, the mayor of Santa Clara told BizJournal that the city has “received zero in non-NFL (event) revenue for seven years”.

By the way, does anyone remember how the 49ers sold the public on this new stadium?

“In July 2009, (team) officials presented plans for a new stadium to the Santa Clara City Council. These preliminary plans noted a proposed $937 million stadium operated by a partnership between the city and the team. It pledged that construction would not use money from the city’s general fund or require any new taxes, hold the 49ers responsible for any cost overruns, and set the rent paid by the 49ers at “fair market”.

– Robert Baumann, Victor Matheson, and Debra O’Connor, August 2017
Moreover, if you want to possibly get into one of these renovated suites for future seasons, it will only cost you $500,000 a year for that privilege.

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