49ers Pay City Zero Revenue from Stadium Concert Events – Again

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.

20 comments

  1. I am surprized this football organization’s commissioner doesn’t seem to rein this club’s local political meddling in. As they have become quite a case study on how a city sponsored football stadium corrupted and cancelled fair local elections.

    • The NFL commissioner is just as corrupt. They protect each other. They all benefit!

  2. I’m a Santa Clara resident and don’t follow all the political bullshit…..but sorry… doesn’t seem right that the city isn’t collecting any revenue generated by Levi stadium. I don’t know why people can’t just do the right thing. Greed….is what’s wrong with this world these days….. integrity means nothing when money is involved. or so it seems~

  3. Tom Calvello speaks of himself in the third person because no one cares to speak about Tom Calvello or Tom Calvello’s 6% per ticket Tom Calvello tax. But stay out of Tom Calvello’s way, Tom Calvello says.

    The 6% per ticket tax is a dumb idea, Tom Calvello. The city would make more money by trimming current base salaries to be no greater than 3% for similiar roles in neighboring cities and limiting any cost of living raises to 2.5% per year, maximum.

    • An example of what would happen if my tax was implemented. Ed Sheeran sold 77,000 tickets at an approximate average price of $150 times 6 % = $693,000 just from one event. Why shouldn’t the people of Santa Clara want that? Ditch I’m afraid your the idiot here. How do you know it’s a 6% tax?

  4. Raj for Residents wants to take money from legal fees to put money into general fund? Huh? Weren’t you the one crowing about millions and millions coming from concerts, Raj? Why are we taking from Peter to pay Paul? Things aren’t as black and white as the 49ers made you believe! Eh, Raj?

    • I don’t know if you are referring to me as Raj, but I can tell you I have nothing to do with him or anyone else. Be careful what you say about Tom Calvello.

  5. The lack of money flowing into the general fund is the reason I presented a proposal to tax attendees of all sports and entertainment events in the city of Santa Clara. The city has been looking at this for more than a year, and it should be coming up for discussion by the city council to see if it can be on the November 2024 ballot. This idea is great for the residents of Santa Clara, all of whom will benefit from this. It is a fair and reasonable tax that hurts no one. So I expect support on this matter from the city council and city management, who should stay out of my way.

    • I don’t want to be taxed for going to events at Levi’s Stadium. It’s expensive enough.

    • The tax on attendance is an interesting and sincere suggestion, so I do hope it sees the light of day. As far as the patronizing reply above, if people should listen to staff, then why was Jain organizing 60 separate meetings with the 49ers?

    • The only thing i have to say about Mr Calvelo is that he is offering a sincere idea that should be discussed and considered. That is all.

  6. Are Burt, Dana, Ted, and Mr. Myers incapable of fully reading financial reports or are they just proud of their lack of epistemology? Gross revenue was down through the end of FY2022 and there was only a net of $250k from non-NFL income. With tens of millions in debt service loans, of course there was nothing left for the general fund.

    If you guys need a layman’s explanation of the financial report, contact these people direct…

    Executive Director, Jōvan D. Grogan
    Treasurer, Kenn Lee
    Auditor, David Noce

  7. Well it should be better this year with Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran brining in large crowds. Perhaps the revenue to the city will double.
    And by that I mean it will go from “0” to “00”
    This is beyond ridiculous.
    Like Mr Field mentioned earlier, this has nothing to do with the players. This has everything to do with the ownership and their greed.

  8. If we lost $3.7MM in the last few years, I guess that means we financed most of the campaigns for the 49er five, right? You want to talk about irony, wow!

  9. Mr. Haugh
    You hit on all the financial issues, at least the ones off the top of my head I could have thought of. It is actually pretty cool just how well informed you are.
    Wonder why the other local media haven’t talked about this…. even a little?
    Well it turns out when you spend a lot of money on advertisement nowadays, it actually goes a long ways to helping to create a very friendly atmosphere to those parties.

    The old saying, “Never bite the hand that feeds you” is for sure at play here.

    Print Media is going to go away in our lifetime. It’s hanging on by a thread. Look closely at all the other local “Rags” and you will notice that little thread is a very bright Red and Gold.
    Most companies don’t have that type of money to spend… but for the 49ers it’s not even their money they are spending. It is our money.
    I hate the term Ironic… yet here we are. Being suffocated by our own money… money that will never find its way into our General Funds.

    Our City is bleeding money, and has for the last couple of years.
    Sadly no end is in sight… just more BS, and attacks on groups that oppose them.

    The best chance we have is for all of us is to register to vote, then vote what is best for us, the residents of Santa Clara.
    A couple of years ago, I choose to subscribe to the San Francisco Chronicle. Seemed to be a very fair media outlet, one I could trust.
    Is it just a coincidence that this is also the City that showed them the door?

    I’m not asking for a lot here, I just want my City back, the one I grew up in and have loved for over 60 years.

    Just remember you can still cheer for the team, they, the players have never hurt us.

    Sadly it’s their owner’s and management that seem to think “We” are just another game they need to win. I don’t see the Warriors or Giants taking on their local Cities in a negative fashion like the 49ers have.
    Maybe this is more of a larger problem with the NFL? Who knows, who cares. All I know is we still have just over 30 more years of this “Game”. I think it’s time we start to learn how to play it…. how about you?

    Register to vote… get others to do the same.

    Burt Field
    burt.field@gmail.com

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