Glenn Dickey: Finances still a question

The impossible dream of a San Francisco stadium that could be used both for the 49ers and the 2016 Summer Olympics was crushed this week as the 49ers changed their focus to Santa Clara. In truth, San Francisco has always had about as muchchance as Fresno of landing the Olympics and building another stadium on Candlestick Point was a bad idea.

But the 49ers may have exchanged one unworkable plan for another, with their announcement in Santa Clara on Thursday.

The site the team has chosen, between Great America and the Santa Clara Convention Center and next to the 49ers’ headquarters, is a good one. The 49ers would be moving closer to the bulk of their fans and the site is easily accessible by freeways on both sides of the Bay and by rail systems, the San Jose light rail and a commuter line that runs from San Jose to Sacramento.

As a longtime observer of these stadium plans, I’ve learned that they follow a pattern. The architectural plans are precise and beautifully laid out. The timeline is exact; owner John York said Thursday they have a definite date for opening the stadium — the start of the 2012 season. But when the talk turns to finances, everything suddenly gets fuzzy.

It was no different Thursday. Even the total cost was an imprecise figure: $600 million to $800 million.

The charts were up to show that the 49ers would not ask for anything from the Santa Clara general fund or new taxes. But Santa Clara will have to be involved in some fashion for the 49ers to qualify for the NFL program that lends money to clubs which have a combination of public and private financing.

So, what would be Santa Clara’s role? Asked the question in several different ways, Lisa Lang, the club’s director of communications, answered with variations of, “We’ve only begun to explore ways of doing this.”

Even if Santa Clara is involved, the most the 49ers could get from the NFL would be $150 million and only if the team contributes

$300 million. That would be a real stretch because the 49ers don’t have the backing they had years ago of a deep-pockets DeBartolo Corp. When the corporation was split between EddieDeBartolo and Denise DeBartolo York, Eddie got the stock of a subsidiary, Simon DeBartolo, and Denise got the team. Eddie’s stock has escalated greatly in value and he was on the most recent list in Fortune magazine of the richest Americans, with a net worth estimated at $1.5 billion. Denise was not on the list.

York has been trying for some time to get a minority partner into the mix, to raise money that could be used for the new stadium. But nobody is interested without the kind of deal in which Chris Cohan bought into the Warriors, giving him the right to buy the team at a later date — a right he exercised. York isn’t willing to do that because he doesn’t want to sell the team. He also said Thursday, “I haven’t even thought about Los Angeles. These are the San Francisco 49ers.”

So, it seems to be a stalemate. The 49ers don’t have the money to build a stadium, so they’re stuck at Candlestick.

Those architectural drawings are sure pretty, though.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.Glenn Dickeysports

Just Posted

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Sunday was wettest October day in San Francisco history

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

While Kaiser Permanente patients seeking mental health care will get a 30-minute phone assessment within days, in many cases, they cannot get actual treatment for months. (Shutterstock)
City employees face months-long wait time for mental health care

‘We are in the midst of a mental health crisis’

Klay Thompson, left, and his boat dealer Kenyon Martin take on his test drive on the NBA star’s 37-foot vessel; injury woes sent Thompson, the Golden State guard, looking for solace. He found it on the water. (Courtesy Anthony Nuccio via New York Times)
Warriors star finds love with his fishing boat

Being on the water is a ‘safe space’ for Klay Thompson

Most Read