Sunday, February 8, 2009

49ers Stadium: The Truth about the 'Lion's Share'...

Concerning the true costs of an NFL stadium in the City of Santa Clara: One preposterous claim ** printed in the San Jose Mercury News on November 17th, 2008, told us that "well over 70 percent of the bill will be borne by the 49ers and the NFL."

The City's own figures prove that to be utterly false:

$222.0M: Santa Clara Public Equity
$330.5M: Santa Clara Stadium Authority
$363.3M: 49ers and NFL
$915.8M: TOTAL

Note that the team-and-league contribution is a mere 39.7% of the total - but that our RDA and a Stadium Authority - a joint-powers authority not yet formed - will be forced to cough up the remaining 60.3%.

Late news even reveals that the NFL is now pleading poverty, and will not contribute to any stadium here. That will put even more pressure on the public contribution being demanded by the 49ers.

Unfortunately, Tim Kawakami, sportswriter for the San Jose Mercury News, also repeats the same math-challenged assertion *** by referring to some "potential $600 million to $800 million share" down to the 49ers. This is also false.

Both of these distortions rely on a little sleight of hand: Lumping the Stadium Authority contribution in with the team's minority share.

Stadium Facts urges Santa Clarans to read the City's own reports - and to be very careful when evaluating claims by stadium fans. As 2009 goes forward, there will be a war of words waged by stadium subsidizers - and not all of their output is going to be truthful.

If the stadium is as good a deal as its supporters are claiming: It shouldn't be necessary to distort the truth about who's paying for most of it - should it?

Best regards,
Bill Bailey
Treasurer, Santa Clara Plays Fair

** Update on February 24th, 2009: The link to the original Letter-to-the-Editor is dead. However the original can probably be had from the Mercury News' archival service (for a fee). I stand by my citation of that letter as quoted above. The link to the Kawakami article is still active.

*** Update on April 26, 2009: It took a few months, but the link to Tim Kawakami's article finally aged and is no longer active. But his original opinion piece can still be had from the Mercury News' archives.