By Robert Haugh
The 49ers tried to lower their own rent by $2.7 million because they said two preseason games were canceled.
But the games were canceled by the NFL, not the City, County or the state of California.
So the City Council acted as the Stadium Authority (SA) Board to challenge the team. The SA voted unanimously on September 8 to file for arbitration to collect the 49ers’ unpaid facility rent.
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, the SA received a $5,502,333 payment for facility rent. It covers overdue rent for September and the rent due for October.
Here’s how the City describes what happened in a press release:
“This action came after 49ers Chief Financial Officer Scott Sabatino notified the Stadium Authority of his intent to reduce their rent payments by 20%. Only after receiving a Notice of Default and the Board’s action did the 49ers pay their rent in full one week later.”
We’ve seen this movie before.
The 49ers tried to lower their own stadium rent by a lot in 2018. Back then, Sabatino said the team had the right to reduce their own rent by $170 million over 40 years.
The City said no. So the team went to arbitration. The 49ers lost big.
In August 2018, the arbitrator ruled that the rent should be increased by $10 million. Wow. That’s a $180 million swing in the City’s favor.
It’s a good thing for Santa Clara taxpayers that the City is not backing down when the 49ers try to reduce their own rent.
It’s also a good thing Sabatino is not coaching the team on the field.