‘We cannot trust the 49ers’: Santa Clara mayor feels exploited by stadium deal

Posted: 05/06/2017 in NFL, Sports
Tags: , , , ,

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The city of Santa Clara, Calif. learned the hard way that the NFL is a ruthless business.

After partnering with the San Francisco 49ers to build and finance Levi’s Stadium, the city of Santa Clara found itself overmatched in negotiations and now faces a mountain of debt that local political officials are unsure how to overcome.

Santa Clara mayor Lisa Gillmor recently described the situation to John Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle as a “David and Goliath” scenario, as the city did not have the expertise or resources to be certain it would see a return on its investment in a new stadium.

“We learned we cannot trust the 49ers,” Gillmor said. “They are our partners, but they have exploited what we’ve tried to do in the city.

“They recognized the fact that we were ill prepared … they were professional; they knew what they were doing.”

Ground was broken on the $1.2-billion stadium in 2012 before the venue officially opened in July 2014. Gillmor admits she was in favor of bringing the stadium to Santa Clara when it was proposed in 2010, but has since regretted her initial belief.

The 49ers pay a league-high $24.5 million in rent and want to negotiate the cost down as they enter their fourth year in the venue, but Gillmore claims she has no way of verifying the checks and balances. The 49ers keep all football revenue but share all non-football profits with Santa Clara.

“We are not able to verify the numbers they give us,” Gillmor said. “They lump them together without detailed financial information in dozens of areas. Dozens.”

The city and team are just four years into their 40-year lease.

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