49ers Want to Spend $12 Million on Marketing Stadium and Return Zero Dollars to Taxpayers

By Robert Haugh

The 49ers turned around their football team recently.  But their stadium management looks like it’s in last place.

Last week, the team who manages the stadium proposed spending $12 million on marketing for non-NFL events. That’s a lot. But guess how much will come back to Santa Clara taxpayers.  Nothing.  

Here’s what Mayor Lisa Gillmor said in a press release: 

“The Forty Niners are doing nothing to improve their performance off the field,” said Mayor Lisa Gillmor, who is the Stadium Authority Board Chair. “To spend $12 million of the public’s money for zero return makes no fiscal sense for our taxpayers. We need a professional stadium manager more than ever who understands the importance of booking money-generating events while acting as a strong community partner.”

 This is the 49ers third year of poor financial performance and a record of booking events that mostly lose money.


According to the City’s press release —

… the Forty Niners did not propose a “turnaround” strategy to bring in events that make money or improve overall business performance. Instead, they proposed a third year of “business as usual” which continues the trend of poor financial performance.

 Here’s some other info the City put out:


  • 75% of ticketed Non-NFL events lose or make no money for last fiscal year
  • Potential self-dealing by the Forty Niners at the expense of the Stadium Authority as discovered when examining the Redbox Bowl
  • Projected revenue loss of nearly $8 million in performance rent to the City over three fiscal years due to poor practices with Non-NFL event bookings


  • Risk of investing public funds to continue to lose money and support potentially illegal business practices and violations of the Management Agreement for the stadium

    Last month, the Board unanimously voted to terminate the 49ers stadium management agreement for both the NFL and Non-NFL season.

But the team filed a lawsuit to stop the action. They will continue to operate the stadium until these issues are resolved in court.

The City Council acting as the Stadium Authority Board will take action on the budget on Tuesday, March 24.

Will be writing more about these issues between now and then.


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