20 May 2009

Santa Clara stadium terms set

They worked well into the night, but they got the deal done. Terms are now defined for a stadium that could permanently bring the 49ers to Santa Clara.

Ah, but there's a catch! The City isn't going to release details of the deal until May 29, only 3 days in advance of the City Council's June 2nd session during which they could vote to approve the deal. If approved, the deal would go to the voters, probably in March 2010.

Based on the limited information we have about the deal, here's how it's put together:
  • $900 million total cost
  • ~$90 million upfront contribution from Santa Clara (Redevelopment funds)
  • ~$330 million from Stadium Authority (quasi-public, using naming rights, PSL's, ticket taxes for revenue)
  • ~$363 million from 49ers/NFL (G3-style fund covering premium seating)
  • $62 million to relocate PG&E substation and build garage
Don't bother adding up the numbers because they don't add up yet. We'll see in 2 weeks. Depending on who you interpret the contributions, Santa Clara's outlay could be either $150 million or $550 million if the Stadium Authority's loan/bonds are included.

One thing not mentioned in either the Merc or SFGate article is yet another important item to be addressed on June 9: Negotiations among the City, 49ers, and Cedar Fair over the fate of Great America. As far as we know, the stadium deal can get done with or without the 49ers acquiring Great America. Or can it?

If Cedar Fair isn't satisfactorily placated, they're likely to whine as long as they own Great America. They're already bitching about lost parking and the football stadium threatening the theme park operator's business. It could very well be that the 49ers and the City are dealing with two different scenarios: one in which the 49ers take over Cedar Fair's lease, and one in which they don't. If the 49ers or a related party take over Great America, they'd also be responsible for buying up the theme park's rides, equipment, and intellectual property. Personally, I think it's not a bad investment, especially if some NFL branding is tightly integrated. A football or sports-oriented theme park next to a stadium? Sounds like a good recipe for multiple Super Bowls, domeless stadium notwithstanding.

Regardless of what happens with Great America, there's something fishy about allowing only 72 hours for the public to review the deal.