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Council Hears Detailed Report on Super Bowl and World Cup 

The Santa Clara City Council received an in-depth report from the Bay Area Host Committee about the upcoming Super Bowl and FIFA World Cup games at Levi’s Stadium. The Council discussed the cost to the City to host these events. It also approved plans for a Sutter Health Outpatient Surgery Center in Santa Clara. 

Santa Clara is getting ready to do some “heavy lifting.”

Several people bandied the term about Tuesday night during the Santa Clara City Council’s most recent meeting. That “heavy lifting” referenced work to be done for the Super Bowl and FIFA World Cup, both set to be held at Levi’s Stadium in 2026.

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During a lengthy presentation from several City departments and the Bay Area Host Committee, the Council heard details of almost every aspect of its hosting the two major sporting events. Not only will Santa Clara host the Super Bowl in February 2026, it will also host six World Cup games over the course of 19 days in June and July.

There has been much ado about the City not being on the hook for any costs associated with the events. The notion pops up repeatedly in the City’s guiding principles for the World Cup.

City Attorney Glen Googins told the Council that his office has reviewed the agreements between the Forty Niners Management Company (ManCo) and USA Soccer as well as the agreement between the Bay Area Host Committee (BAHC) and FIFA.

Since the 2026 Super Bowl is an NFL event, the Forty Niners Stadium Company (StadCo), the managing agency for NFL games, will pay for those costs. The BAHC will assume all costs associated with the World Cup but will also take any revenue.

“The event is not expected to generate net positive revenue. In fact, quite the opposite,” Googins said.

While the City is still hashing out the details as to what constitutes a cost to the City in preparation of the FIFA World Cup, it has already made substantial progress, Googins said. Further, he added, the City is aiming to maintain the non-NFL event ticket surcharge to offset any opportunity cost for use of the stadium.

Googins anticipates that negotiations will be complete within the next few months, saying his office will likely return to the Council in the summer with all the details ironed out.

“There is a lot going on. There is a lot we’ve initiated,” Googins said. “We’ve traded substantial concepts and terms sheets already, and we are going to be meeting again soon on a regular basis in order to chase all those to ground and to have all those back for your consideration.”

Zaileen Janmohamed, Bay Area Host Committee president, bemoaned the absence of a Bay Area city in the top 10 of a study by the Sports Business Journal. San Francisco made No. 19 on a list of 50. Janmohamed said she believes with the BAHC’s help, that can be improved.

Cost of living in the area as well as a lack of government funding and a sustainable sports commission like other major sports cities all contribute to such a lackluster ranking, she said. With the reformation of the BAHC after two dissolutions — following the 2016 Super Bowl and the 2019 College Football Playoff — she believes the BAHC can leave a “lasting legacy.”

“There are few things in life that unite and have the power of uniting people. Sport is one of those things,” Janmohamed said.

The NFL begins planning for the 2026 Super Bowl in roughly a month. Once that happens, she said, the BAHC will have more information about the specifics.

From an emergency preparedness standpoint, David Flamm, the City emergency manager, said the City is better poised than it was for the 2016 Super Bowl. Unlike last time, the City already has many complex problems solved, he said.

“We got a number of things that are well, well ahead of where we were last time,” Flamm said. “And, to underscore that, if planning for Super Bowl 50 was a 100-yard dash, we are starting 10 steps ahead, starting earlier and running on much stronger legs.”

The only infrastructure improvement the City needs to make is the removal of some seats at the stadium for the FIFA World Cup games to accommodate the soccer pitch. Negotiations as to who will bear the cost of that project are ongoing.

The ambiguity highlighted one of the biggest concerns for both Council Member Kevin Park and Mayor Lisa Gillmor. Both said the lack of clarity as to whether the City is able to track employees’ time spent preparing for the events and what the City will be fully reimbursed for was troubling.

Gillmor repeatedly asked City Manager Jovan Grogan whether the City has been tracking all the time put into planning the events and whether his office will get reimbursed for that time.

While Grogan repeatedly said he “absolutely intends” to pursue complete cost recovery for City employees’ time, the matter isn’t entirely in his control as negotiations with the BAHC on the matter are still ongoing.

Gillmor said she didn’t want City employees to lose sight of their other duties while preparing for events for which the City may not even get fully reimbursed.

Meanwhile, Council Member Anthony Becker said he found the report very comprehensive. He said the information presented debunks a “false narrative” and “corrects a lot that is being misinterpreted.”

The Council will get another update in June.

Sutter Health to Open Outpatient Surgery Center

The Council also unanimously approved rezoning four office buildings to make way for an outpatient surgery center. The new designation will switch four parcels located at 2221, 2231, 2241 and 2251 Mission College Blvd. from planned industrial to high-intensity office/R&D.

The 20-acre site, located along the north side of Mission College Boulevard between San Tomas Aquino Creek and Great America Parkway, hosts four two-and-three-story office buildings, three of which are vacant. Improvements are already underway to allow tenant Sutter Health to occupy the buildings.

Reena Brilliot, acting community development director, said the City’s zoning code update, slated to come online in the next couple months, will eliminate the site’s industrial designation. The new designation is consistent with the general plan use designation for the site, she added.

With centers already in Milpitas and San Jose, Brilliot said Sutter Health aims to place the outpatient surgery center in Santa Clara to bridge the gap between the two cities and better serve its patients.

The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the Sutter Health project at the end of January. Council Member Kathy Watanabe called the center “a very nice addition” to the City. The Council approved the change unanimously.

City Council Consent Calendar Spending

  • A $750,000, five-year extension to a contract with Koffler Electrical Mechanical Apparatus Repair, Inc. for motor and pump maintenance and repair services.
  • A $1 million contract with KSB, Inc. for motor and pump maintenance and repair services.
  • A $200,000 amendment with Aspen Environmental Group for as-needed electric fee and rate analysis. Total contract is now $650,000.
  • A $1 million, five-year contract extension to an agreement with e-Builder, Inc. The agenda item did not list the scope of work, but the agenda attachment lists the work as software subscription and “enterprise implementation, setup, deployment, and training.” Total contract is now $2.15 million.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, March 12 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.

Members of the public can participate in the City Council meetings on Zoom at https://santaclaraca.zoom.us/j/99706759306; Meeting ID: 997-0675-9306 or call 1(669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclaraca.gov.

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1 Comment
  1. Mary O. Grizzle 4 months ago
    Reply

    We need solid Santa Clara experienced leadership on The Bay Area Host Committee for Super Bowl 60 & the World Cup, to protect SC interests from the 49ers.

    Kevin Moore has that leadership & more.

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