By Robert Haugh
Levi’s Stadium held some major concerts that had big crowds last year and made a lot of money in 2022. Coldplay, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Elton John played in Santa Clara.
But the Santa Clara City General Fund got zero dollars – again.
That’s right zero. Wow.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, City Staff presented stadium financial information for the fiscal year ending in March 2023.
Here’s the key chart:
The 49er Five tried to explain that there could be money coming to the general fund but its being held up until a 49er lawsuit over public safety cost is settled.
Or maybe not. The last time the 49er Five settled a lawsuit, they gave away millions of dollars to the team.
And the time before that, they gave away at least a million in parking revenue to the team.
Maybe that’s why staff won’t include any money projected to go the City’s General Fund. They can’t trust the 49er Five.
Unfortunately, for the Mission City, this is nothing new.
Stand Up for Santa Clara, a grassroots group, created a website called StadiumDebt.com. It uses official city reports to track the dollars the 49ers promised the City and the amount that they’ve failed to deliver.
Before last night’s report, the 49ers had failed to deliver on $33 million, according to the website’s charts. In some years, they charged the City/Stadium Authority money. Double wow.
Here’s a chart that shows a year by year breakdown of how much money the team actually paid the city from major concert revenues in past years. We can add FY 2022/23 and put a zero.
Last night, Mayor Lisa Gillmor pointed out that the 49ers dropped their payments to the City after the City won the rent reset lawsuit.
In 2018, an arbitrator ruled that the team could not lower its own rent. And the arbitrator gave the City about $10 million more in revenue for the remainder of the long-term lease.
Was it just a coincidence that the 49ers stopped paying the City non-NFL concert revenue then?
Maybe they needed the money for political campaigns. In 2020, the team started spending large amounts to win the City Council seats that they now control.
Editor’s Note: The 49er Five are Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.
Jed York spent $3 million in November 2020 to elect Becker, Jain, and Park. They were previously 0-6 in Santa Clara elections. Chahal and Hardy have received gifts from the team without reporting them and received $1 million each for their elections in November 2022.
In 2022, the team spent approximately $2.5 million for Becker in his failed attempt to unseat Mayor Lisa Gillmor.
The 49er Five met with the team on an almost weekly basis and have voted to help the team win millions of dollars in concessions from the City since December 2020.