Welcome to the New Year and the great challenges we all get to tackle during the next twelve months.
Jed York held a press conference to let us know what adjustments he is making to his staff and create a plan for returning the 49ers to a Super Bowl contender.
What you have to appreciate is York’s willingness to bite the bullet and change the way things have been.
While dozens of Santa Clara Corporations go through similar adjustments from laying off hundreds of employees to revamping their entire product line or replacing key officers, few have the high profile of the 49ers. As a result, you don’t always hear the details of those actions or even know they are happening.
It is different with the 49ers who have a fan base of millions and even with a losing record continue to hold high TV ratings during the season.
While their competition on the football field has been somewhat dismal, the 49ers have applied a very successful formula to our stadium operations.
However, if you haven’t been in town the past few months, you may not be aware that the City is in a serious squabble with the 49ers over our stadium management agreements. Many allegations were made during the election campaign that the 49ers were mismanaging the stadium and perhaps failing to fulfill their contract obligations. Perhaps most serious was the charge that the 49ers were taking funds from the City’s general fund in violation of Measure J which the voters approved in 2010.
Al Guido, President of 49ers operations, fired back, “Nonsense!” Noting that the City has received, read and approved four separate audits conducted by KPMG, one of the leading audit firms in the country. He also pointed out that stadium operations have done an exceptional job of creating funds for Santa Clara’s general fund.
From an operating standpoint, it is hard to argue with Guido. Since the stadium opened, they have hosted 54 major non-football events bringing 3 million ticketed guests to our city. In addition, during this period they hosted 450 private events from corporate parties of 20 to conferences of 30,000.
Here is where it gets interesting. The total funds injected into our City’s general fund from these operations was $5.5 million after expenses. Then another $3 million was placed in the Discretionary Fund from surcharges on ticket sales. Add to that, parking, youth and senior fees and there is another $2.5 million that accrued to the City. Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax has increased by 18% and finally, the 49ers paid down the stadium mortgage by $200 million. These funds were created from what was an empty parking lot 7 years ago, which by the way, produced nothing for our City.
When you consider the development now in process near and around the stadium, you can’t help but marvel at the value of having the 49ers in Santa Clara.
Whatever your thoughts, the stadium looks better and pays more than an empty lot.