While the 49ers’ Super Bowl run has caused joy for residents and San Francisco city officials, the current mayor and his predecessor on Wednesday both expressed tempered excitement about the team’s impending move to the South Bay.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was mayor when the 49ers first announced their intentions to relocate to Santa Clara, called the moment “bittersweet” because of the 49ers’ plans to start the 2014 season in a new home.
Mayor Ed Lee expressed enthusiasm about the team and its chances of winning the Super Bowl, saying he considers the franchise the San Francisco 49ers no matter what.
“I would love to have the games here,” Lee said, “but at the same time, ‘San Francisco 49ers’ continues to be the name.”
The 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl and face the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
Newsom spoke of his own efforts to retain the team.
He said, “I still maintain strong opinions on that, perhaps exclusive to my experiences of trying to keep them” in The City while mayor from 2003 to 2010.
The 49ers, who still play in Candlestick Park, had worked with San Francisco officials on sites for a new stadium.
However, plans never fully materialized before the team decided to leave the city-owned stadium for Santa Clara, where voters approved a 2010 ballot measure to help fund a new facility, which is under construction.
Lee was hopeful that leaving would not end the team’s ties to The City. He touted the possibility of Super Bowl L, the 50th event, being hosted in the region; the investment the 49ers make in youth services in San Francisco; and the fact that the vendors at Candlestick Park will move to the new stadium in Santa Clara.
Newsom said while he is still “as big a fan as there can possibly be” of the 49ers, he was “very disappointed” in the team’s decision to move, both as a mayor and fifth-generation San Franciscan.
Newsom, however, also decided to leave San Francisco, moving last year with his wife and children to Marin County.