Wednesday, February 23, 2011

49ers' Subsidies: The Private Investment Myth

Dear Santa Clarans,

It's time for a Subsidy Fact.

The real truth about the
49ers' subsidy was unfortunately obfuscated by Mayor Matthews in a KGO-TV interview here. Mayor Matthews states: "What we're funding is a municipal stadium that has a very small public contribution when we have a one billion dollar private investment."

I'm sorry, but that is simply not the case. There is nowhere near one billion dollars in private money going into any stadium in our city. In fact, the Agenda Reports of our own City Council make abundantly clear that the public "contribution" is really a massive subsidy totalling $444,000,000 and which amounts to
47% of the the stadium's construction costs alone.

The $114M upfront plus the $330M to be raised by the Stadium Authority doesn't even include what it will cost us to operate the stadium for the 49ers.

"Investment"? The stadium creates jobs which will pay less than $7,000 a year**, and it generates less economic activity than the Training Center itself. The use of the word "investment" should imply some return - returns which are sadly lacking with this "deal."

"Municipal Stadium" is precisely what the 49ers stadium isn't. We aren't building a stadium for Santa Clarans - we're subsidizing one for the 49ers. You'll find out how true that really is as we get deeper into the Development Agreement process. The stadium will barely be useful - much less profitable - to our new Stadium Authority. In fact, the 49ers have virtually assured that Santa Clara won't even make a fair return from the NFL games themselves.

With the RDA Amendment, and later with the Development Agreement, there will be a huge volume of blather designed to persuade us that subsidizing a millionaire's NFL team is in the interest of the city of Santa Clara. It simply is not.

Please. Speak out. Demand more "Stadium Facts."

If you have any questions about what you're getting in the press, ask anytime. What we don't yet know, we'll find out.

Thanks for all of your support,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer,
Santa Clara Plays Fair

** The 49ers themselves managed to blow their own case in May of 2010 when they admitted in one of their slick Measure J brochures that they were creating 2,600 (!) stadium jobs. That and an annual payroll of $17M gets you jobs working about 8 hours a week and paying less than seven grand a year. There will be no benefits, and certainly no bargaining units, for those workers. The "
jobs" claim is merely a buzzword for the 49ers and the stadium boosters - nothing more.