By Robert Haugh
If anyone handed out grades at the Stadium Authority’s study session last night, the 49ers would have gotten an F. Yup. They would have flunked.
That’s because they didn’t show up. This fact was pointed out by the City staff and the board members about a dozen times last night.
And they didn’t even turn in all their homework. The work the team did turn in wasn’t very good either — and they were late with it. City Staff and the Stadium Authority Board were not happy. Don’t expect them to approve anything next week.
ManCo (the 49ers’ stadium management company) told the Authority that they would only get $750,000 for the 2018/19 season. Their fiscal year ends at the end of this month.
But City staff looked at ManCo’s past reports for this year. They projected $4 million should be the number. ManCo didn’t provide any explanation for the difference. And no documentation either. Wow.
ManCo also said that they charged the Authority an extra $400,000 because of Authority requests. But they didn’t provide any details. Double wow.
(The City is still in court trying to get legally required documents from the team.)
ManCo didn’t do any better on this subject. But they can’t say they weren’t warned. Last March, here’s the resolution the Authority passed:
The Stadium Authority Board should direct the Executive Director to notify ManagementCo that previous annual marketing plans were inadequate as they did not set forth reasonably detailed plans to develop, implement, and monitor marketing, booking, advertising, and promotion of non-NFL activities. The Board should further direct the Executive Director to notify ManagementCo that future marketing plans must include such details and be reviewed for sufficient detail by the Executive Director before being presented to the Board.
City staff met with ManCo lots of times over the last year. They worked on key items for the marketing plan. And ManCo still didn’t turn in a good one. (Note to ManCo: maybe you need a tutor).
But some information they turned in was a big surprise. Here are two biggies:
ManCo allowed the concert promoter for Taylor Swift to schedule a second concert. It was on Friday, May 11, 2018. They lost over $2 million for the second concert! And the promoter gave away more than 20,000 free tickets that got charged to the Stadium Authority! Triple wow.
Every three years, ManCo has to book 36 big events because of their naming rights deal with Levi’s. Or they have to pay the $15,000 per event not held. According to City Staff, ManCo will owe Levi’s $270,000 next year. They need to book 22 major events by next February. ManCo only has four on the calendar.
City Staff — A. They did a lot of homework. They’re getting a lot of information even without the 49ers’ cooperation.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor — A. She asked some really good and direct questions to City Staff. The answers made it obvious that the 49ers are not a trustworthy partner.
Vice Mayor Patty Mahan — INC. She didn’t ask one question or make one comment. But she’s missed a lot of school lately.
Councilman Raj Chahal — B-minus. He made it clear that he hasn’t met with the 49ers and doesn’t want to be in their pocket. He even suggested that a marketing consultant (a tutor?) be hired to help them. And that the City cancel money losing events. But he got confused by the curfew. It’s been around since the stadium opened. It’s not the reason the team is losing events.
Councilwoman Debi Davis — A. She did her homework and knew all the details of the marketing plan. She raised a lot of questions for the team to answer.
Councilwoman Karen Hardy — A. She asked an important question about leverage. And she said that based on their track record, she wouldn’t hire ManCo to manage any stadium.
Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill — A. She called in from Washington, D.C., where she’s on city business. She pointed out that ManCo had no experience with stadium management,,and it shows.
Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe — A. She did her homework. She brought up a Business Journal story about the 49ers saying they made $458 million more than their last year at Candlestick. And an ESPN story that says Levi’s Stadium only ranks 88th out of 107 stadiums for cleanliness. ManCo isn’t taking care of an important City asset.