The new NFL labor contract brings the 49ers’ stadium in Santa Clara closer to reality.
As team President Jed York pointed out in a conference call this week, the new collective bargaining agreement has a provision setting 1.5 percent of revenue aside for new stadiums. This is why the owners wanted a new deal reducing the players’ share, so they’d have money for new stadiums.
There is also a provision to reinstate something like the G-3 program, which allowed the league to “lend” money to clubs if their stadiums were public-private, as the proposed Santa Clara stadium would be. The money was actually a gift, not a loan, because it was repaid out of the visitors’ share of the gate.
The 49ers need all the help they can get. Their current cost estimate for the stadium, which would open in 2015 if all goes well, is $987 million. They will get $79 million from Santa Clara and a projected $35 million by increasing the tax on guests at hotels around the stadium.
That’s just $114 million. Compare that to the $325 million the Dallas Cowboys got from Arlington for their grandiose new stadium.
The 49ers have raised $138 million in suites sales, which is a start.
But they still have a long way to go.
“With the 10-year contract, we can promise investors that there won’t be any disruption for that period,” said York, who interrupted his honeymoon to talk to the media. “We’ve had to hold off during the negotiations but now we can concentrate on putting together the financing.”
Some writers have speculated that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would only give league money to help finance a two-team stadium in the Bay Area, but that’s only their opinion. York said flatly that the commissioner was not attaching strings to money given for new stadiums.
It would be better if the 49ers and Raiders combined on a stadium, but there has been no real progress on that and won’t be as long as Al Davis owns the team.
The spot at Hunters Point set aside by Lennar Corp. in its development plan for the entire Bayview-Hunters Point area is not a factor now.
“Our position is that we’re waiting to see what happens in Santa Clara,” said Carmen Policy, former 49ers president and now the front man for Lennar. “If that falls apart, we’ll step in.”
But that site would require new access roads, and it’s highly unlikely that the city or state would pay for them. The Santa Clara site has excellent access already from highways, street car lines — even trains for Sacramento-area fans.
The Santa Clara site makes sense even if only the 49ers play in the stadium. The 49ers haven’t been a San Francisco team for a long time, as their fans have largely moved down the Peninsula. The Santa Clara site will be very convenient for them.
It would also be convenient for Raiders fans, many of whom live south of the Coliseum, and it would be a neutral site, much like New Jersey for the New York Giants and Jets in their shared stadium.