Mayor Gavin Newsom said San Francisco — and its political allies — are not going to give upthe 49ers without a fight, in the wake of a decision this week by the city of Santa Clara to officially investigate ways to build a new football stadium for the team.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced legislation — dubbed the Football Fan Protection Act — that would provide the NFL with a say in the movement of teams “to protect communities that have invested substantial funds and goodwill into a team,” according to a press statement released Thursday.
Last week, state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, introduced her own legislation aimed at keeping the team in San Francisco: SB 49 would prevent other municipalities from using public money to lure teams away from cities within a 100-mile radius.
“We’re going to fight legally, and we have a number of ways to do that, not just Migden’s bill or Feinstein’s,” said Newsom, who is scheduled to meet with 49ers owner John York on Tuesday.
In a statement, team officials said they did not believe the “legislation will deter our efforts to create a stadium that provides a world-class fan experience that the Bay Area deserves.”
For nearly a decade, 49ers officials have been in negotiations with San Francisco to rebuild the new stadium at Candlestick Point. In November, York called Newsom to say The City’s proposed plan was unworkable and the franchise was pulling out of the deal to relocate next to the Great America amusement park. Official documents later revealed that Santa Clara had been courting San Francisco’s football team for quite some time.
Although the 49ers have agreed to resume stadium negotiations with San Francisco officials — who are now proposing to build the new stadium at the site of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard — the team is still moving forward in talks with Santa Clara.
The Hunters Point shipyard site has several significant hurdles, including needed environmental cleanup of the land as well as “massive” infrastructure needs, 49ers spokesman Steve Fine said. “The team plans to have a meeting with Mayor Newsom to discuss his proposal and see if there are any realistic solutions, but we remain focused on Santa Clara.”
York has promised Santa Clara the team would continue to be called the San Francisco 49ers, even if it were playing in the Silicon Valley city.