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Old November 13th, 2006, 05:16 AM   #1
metropolismayor
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Silicon Valley Development News


Lure of the South Bay

SANTA CLARA, FREMONT OFFER MORE THINGS SPORTS EXECS WANT

By Mike Swift from The San Jose Mercury News
Posted on Sun, Nov. 12, 2006


Tony Bennett doesn't croon about leaving his heart in Santa Clara. Tourists don't flock from around the globe to Fremont. You come to Silicon Valley to make a mark in your field of endeavor. And to make money.

So it is for two of the Bay Area's pro sports franchises, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Athletics, who within the space of 24 hours last week told local officials that they aim to set up shop in the South Bay, the 49ers in Santa Clara and the A's in Fremont.

The South Bay is no stranger to being pitted against its neighbors to the north when it comes to pro sports owners trying to sweeten their stadium deal.

Even if Santa Clara is just a bargaining chip for the 49ers, it's a potent one. The South Bay has become an enticing lure for the pro teams of San Francisco and Oakland because of its bounty of high-tech corporations, population growth, disposable income, accessible land and transportation web.

Think of the Bay Area as a seesaw, with its fulcrum at the San Mateo Bridge. With each passing year, the South Bay's weight of wealth, people and available land tips the balance ever more in its favor.

``There are three reasons the teams are moving here,'' said Dean Munro, executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority. They can't get something done in their home city, the region's population growth is in the South Bay and so is the money, he said. ``That's not an insignificant thing.''

The NHL's expansion San Jose Sharks, for one, have been here since the early 1990s.

Moving to suburbs

The flat suburban streets of Silicon Valley may lack the cultural gravitas of San Francisco. And A's faithful from Oakland blanched at the thought of their city's team moving to the suburbs.

``The Fremont A's, the San Jose A's -- it all sounds like a Triple-A team to me,'' said Deborah Campbell Ford, a spokeswoman for Oakland Mayor-elect Ron Dellums, referring to a minor-league division.

But to explain the draw for owners like the 49ers' John York and the A's Lew Wolff, think of the ``Four P's'': People, Pocketbooks, Politics and Property.

York said last week that he and other NFL owners aren't abandoning their fans by moving to the suburbs.

``Dallas has moved from the city of Dallas to Irving, now to Arlington for their new stadium. Buffalo is in Orchard Park. The Giants used to be in the city, and the Jets. Both moved over to New Jersey,'' York said. ``I think it's just an accepted fact that our fan base is growing out, and that there are plenty of fans that are in the South Bay area. So we're not moving away from our fan base.''

In fact, both the 49ers and the A's would be moving toward that fan base.

Over the coming 25 years -- roughly the expected life spans of new stadiums -- Santa Clara, Alameda and San Mateo counties will add a combined 1 million new residents, according to population projections by the state Department of Finance, as both Santa Clara and Alameda counties sprawl toward the south. San Francisco, in contrast, is projected to lose population between now and 2030.

Proximity to a growing population is a larger consideration for the A's, because major league baseball's fans typically travel no more than 15 miles to attend a game, said Roger Noll, professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University.

Getting to the games

``Baseball, because you play 81 home games, people don't buy season tickets to baseball games if they're going to have to commute an hour each way,'' said Noll, an expert on stadium finance. ``Distance is much less important with football,'' because it's a daylong event that usually happens on a Sunday.

Silicon Valley also has the pocketbook to fill luxury boxes and premium seats, the lifeblood of stadium deals and revenue opportunities for pro sports franchises, and to animate the commercial real estate venture that would surround the new A's stadium.

Fueled by the high-tech success of corporations like Google, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Yahoo, eBay, Apple Computer and Intel, San Jose had the highest household income of any large city in America in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Santa Clara and San Mateo now are two of California's three most-wealthy counties, with median household incomes one-third higher than San Francisco's.

Key meeting on A's

``The A's already have their sugar daddy with Cisco, and the Niners don't have their sugar daddy yet,'' Noll said.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig will join Wolff and Cisco Systems Chief Executive John Chambers to unveil the A's new ``Cisco Field,'' a platform to demonstrate the company's newest technology, such as wireless devices that would allow fans to call up player stats or order food. The park is expected to seat up to 35,000, and be surrounded by a commercial wrap of retail shopping, housing and hotels that would resemble Santana Row in San Jose. Oakland doesn't appear to be putting up a fight.

But San Francisco officials aren't ready to let the 49ers head south. York envisions a new stadium across from the team's headquarters and the Great America amusement park. It would include about 150 luxury suites -- 40 percent more than the team has at Monster Park -- and about 7,500 club seats, segregated from regular fans, and typically purchased by companies or high-rollers, with special access to restaurants and other stadium amenities.

Luxury suite sales are especially important for an NFL team that plans to privately finance its stadium, as the 49ers say they plan to do.

``I don't think there's any question that this is viewed as a great opportunity by sports franchises to gain access to more corporate dollars and more corporate support. The nexus of the business community in the Bay Area has clearly moved from San Francisco to Silicon Valley,'' said Gary Fazzino, vice president for government affairs for Hewlett-Packard, who said his comments do not reflect any commitment from HP.

``Would there be more interest in purchasing luxury suites if you're five miles from your corporate headquarters rather than 30 miles from your corporate headquarters? Absolutely.''

Others are less sure, given the large fan footprint for an NFL team, whether a move to Silicon Valley would make it significantly easier for the 49ers to sell premium seats.

Fazzino, a former Palo Alto mayor, said there may be yet another reason why the 49ers' York and the A's Wolff decided to move now: Politics. Especially with the elections over, the politics of Silicon Valley are more placid than in San Francisco and Oakland.

``I think San Francisco is much more balkanized. It's a much more diverse population, with diverse interests, and a very intense political environment, more than is the case in Silicon Valley,'' he said.

To build a new stadium at Candlestick Point in San Francisco, the 49ers had to get approval to acquire 40 acres of state parkland, a difficult process that the team said would require changing two state laws.

And that's where the property comes in.

It's just easier -- and usually cheaper -- to build a stadium in a suburban location than in a city. And Silicon Valley already has a highly evolved network of freeways and transit. The Santa Clara 49ers stadium site would be served by three freeways and would be a two-minute walk from a VTA light-rail station and a 10-minute walk from ACE commuter rail.

Consider the harried Intel executive in 2012, hoping to finalize a multimillion dollar deal by entertaining a client at the Monday night 49ers game. Instead of fighting the rush hour on Highway 101 to get to San Francisco, they could walk to their suite at a Santa Clara stadium while others in Silicon Valley could catch light rail or an ACE commuter train.

As good as it gets

Tony Gonzales, a vice president with HNTB Architecture, designers of the proposed 49ers stadium, said the Santa Clara site reflects the fruition of 20 years of the valley's transportation planning.

``I must say this site sort of has it all for us,'' Gonzales said. ``The thing we like most about this site is that all of the infrastructure is here.''

That's not the case at Candlestick Point. Building a privately financed stadium supported by a subsidiary housing and retail development on the tight geography of the Peninsula would require $765 million in infrastructure improvements, including a new interchange for 101 and construction of one of the world's largest parking garages, accommodating 10,000 cars.

Because of the garage, the 49ers worry, many fans would have to forget about one football institution: Tailgating.

York, the 49ers owner, said he's not using Santa Clara as leverage, even as he plans to reopen talks with San Francisco officials this week.

Many observers, however, are not convinced. Richard D. Gray is one of them.

``Their job is to get as much money out of the municipality as they can,'' said Gray, who was a lead negotiator for the state of Connecticut in its failed bid to lure the New England Patriots to Hartford in 1999. ``And they are good businessmen; you can't blame them for that. But don't think fan loyalty has a . . . thing to do with it.''Posted on Sun, Nov. 12, 2006


Lure of the South Bay
SANTA CLARA, FREMONT OFFER MORE THINGS SPORTS EXECS WANT
By Mike Swift
Mercury News

Tony Bennett doesn't croon about leaving his heart in Santa Clara. Tourists don't flock from around the globe to Fremont. You come to Silicon Valley to make a mark in your field of endeavor. And to make money.

So it is for two of the Bay Area's pro sports franchises, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Athletics, who within the space of 24 hours last week told local officials that they aim to set up shop in the South Bay, the 49ers in Santa Clara and the A's in Fremont.

The South Bay is no stranger to being pitted against its neighbors to the north when it comes to pro sports owners trying to sweeten their stadium deal.

Even if Santa Clara is just a bargaining chip for the 49ers, it's a potent one. The South Bay has become an enticing lure for the pro teams of San Francisco and Oakland because of its bounty of high-tech corporations, population growth, disposable income, accessible land and transportation web.

Think of the Bay Area as a seesaw, with its fulcrum at the San Mateo Bridge. With each passing year, the South Bay's weight of wealth, people and available land tips the balance ever more in its favor.

``There are three reasons the teams are moving here,'' said Dean Munro, executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority. They can't get something done in their home city, the region's population growth is in the South Bay and so is the money, he said. ``That's not an insignificant thing.''

The NHL's expansion San Jose Sharks, for one, have been here since the early 1990s.

Moving to suburbs

The flat suburban streets of Silicon Valley may lack the cultural gravitas of San Francisco. And A's faithful from Oakland blanched at the thought of their city's team moving to the suburbs.

``The Fremont A's, the San Jose A's -- it all sounds like a Triple-A team to me,'' said Deborah Campbell Ford, a spokeswoman for Oakland Mayor-elect Ron Dellums, referring to a minor-league division.

But to explain the draw for owners like the 49ers' John York and the A's Lew Wolff, think of the ``Four P's'': People, Pocketbooks, Politics and Property.

York said last week that he and other NFL owners aren't abandoning their fans by moving to the suburbs.

``Dallas has moved from the city of Dallas to Irving, now to Arlington for their new stadium. Buffalo is in Orchard Park. The Giants used to be in the city, and the Jets. Both moved over to New Jersey,'' York said. ``I think it's just an accepted fact that our fan base is growing out, and that there are plenty of fans that are in the South Bay area. So we're not moving away from our fan base.''

In fact, both the 49ers and the A's would be moving toward that fan base.

Over the coming 25 years -- roughly the expected life spans of new stadiums -- Santa Clara, Alameda and San Mateo counties will add a combined 1 million new residents, according to population projections by the state Department of Finance, as both Santa Clara and Alameda counties sprawl toward the south. San Francisco, in contrast, is projected to lose population between now and 2030.

Proximity to a growing population is a larger consideration for the A's, because major league baseball's fans typically travel no more than 15 miles to attend a game, said Roger Noll, professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University.

Getting to the games

``Baseball, because you play 81 home games, people don't buy season tickets to baseball games if they're going to have to commute an hour each way,'' said Noll, an expert on stadium finance. ``Distance is much less important with football,'' because it's a daylong event that usually happens on a Sunday.

Silicon Valley also has the pocketbook to fill luxury boxes and premium seats, the lifeblood of stadium deals and revenue opportunities for pro sports franchises, and to animate the commercial real estate venture that would surround the new A's stadium.

Fueled by the high-tech success of corporations like Google, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Yahoo, eBay, Apple Computer and Intel, San Jose had the highest household income of any large city in America in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Santa Clara and San Mateo now are two of California's three most-wealthy counties, with median household incomes one-third higher than San Francisco's.

Key meeting on A's

``The A's already have their sugar daddy with Cisco, and the Niners don't have their sugar daddy yet,'' Noll said.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig will join Wolff and Cisco Systems Chief Executive John Chambers to unveil the A's new ``Cisco Field,'' a platform to demonstrate the company's newest technology, such as wireless devices that would allow fans to call up player stats or order food. The park is expected to seat up to 35,000, and be surrounded by a commercial wrap of retail shopping, housing and hotels that would resemble Santana Row in San Jose. Oakland doesn't appear to be putting up a fight.

But San Francisco officials aren't ready to let the 49ers head south. York envisions a new stadium across from the team's headquarters and the Great America amusement park. It would include about 150 luxury suites -- 40 percent more than the team has at Monster Park -- and about 7,500 club seats, segregated from regular fans, and typically purchased by companies or high-rollers, with special access to restaurants and other stadium amenities.

Luxury suite sales are especially important for an NFL team that plans to privately finance its stadium, as the 49ers say they plan to do.

``I don't think there's any question that this is viewed as a great opportunity by sports franchises to gain access to more corporate dollars and more corporate support. The nexus of the business community in the Bay Area has clearly moved from San Francisco to Silicon Valley,'' said Gary Fazzino, vice president for government affairs for Hewlett-Packard, who said his comments do not reflect any commitment from HP.

``Would there be more interest in purchasing luxury suites if you're five miles from your corporate headquarters rather than 30 miles from your corporate headquarters? Absolutely.''

Others are less sure, given the large fan footprint for an NFL team, whether a move to Silicon Valley would make it significantly easier for the 49ers to sell premium seats.

Fazzino, a former Palo Alto mayor, said there may be yet another reason why the 49ers' York and the A's Wolff decided to move now: Politics. Especially with the elections over, the politics of Silicon Valley are more placid than in San Francisco and Oakland.

``I think San Francisco is much more balkanized. It's a much more diverse population, with diverse interests, and a very intense political environment, more than is the case in Silicon Valley,'' he said.

To build a new stadium at Candlestick Point in San Francisco, the 49ers had to get approval to acquire 40 acres of state parkland, a difficult process that the team said would require changing two state laws.

And that's where the property comes in.

It's just easier -- and usually cheaper -- to build a stadium in a suburban location than in a city. And Silicon Valley already has a highly evolved network of freeways and transit. The Santa Clara 49ers stadium site would be served by three freeways and would be a two-minute walk from a VTA light-rail station and a 10-minute walk from ACE commuter rail.

Consider the harried Intel executive in 2012, hoping to finalize a multimillion dollar deal by entertaining a client at the Monday night 49ers game. Instead of fighting the rush hour on Highway 101 to get to San Francisco, they could walk to their suite at a Santa Clara stadium while others in Silicon Valley could catch light rail or an ACE commuter train.

As good as it gets

Tony Gonzales, a vice president with HNTB Architecture, designers of the proposed 49ers stadium, said the Santa Clara site reflects the fruition of 20 years of the valley's transportation planning.

``I must say this site sort of has it all for us,'' Gonzales said. ``The thing we like most about this site is that all of the infrastructure is here.''

That's not the case at Candlestick Point. Building a privately financed stadium supported by a subsidiary housing and retail development on the tight geography of the Peninsula would require $765 million in infrastructure improvements, including a new interchange for 101 and construction of one of the world's largest parking garages, accommodating 10,000 cars.

Because of the garage, the 49ers worry, many fans would have to forget about one football institution: Tailgating.

York, the 49ers owner, said he's not using Santa Clara as leverage, even as he plans to reopen talks with San Francisco officials this week.

Many observers, however, are not convinced. Richard D. Gray is one of them.

``Their job is to get as much money out of the municipality as they can,'' said Gray, who was a lead negotiator for the state of Connecticut in its failed bid to lure the New England Patriots to Hartford in 1999. ``And they are good businessmen; you can't blame them for that. But don't think fan loyalty has a . . . thing to do with it.''
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Old November 14th, 2006, 12:48 AM   #2
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Teams will be left wherever their owners shift them for the moment.

Hearts, however, will still be left in San Francisco.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 03:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
Teams will be left wherever their owners shift them for the moment.

Hearts, however, will still be left in San Francisco.

cut it out. time for the rest of the bay to pay respct to their big brother!
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Old November 14th, 2006, 08:22 PM   #4
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Uh-oh, its gettin' ugly...

49ers insist they'll keep 'San Francisco'
City leaders upset, say the name won't move with team


- Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's in a name? If you are the San Francisco 49ers, a lot, apparently.

A Super-Bowl-size battle is brewing over the fate of the team's name and whether it would still be allowed to call itself the San Francisco 49ers if it relocates to Santa Clara.

Team officials say that any move would involve bringing along the San Francisco name. But in the city by the bay, where leaders are furious over last week's surprise announcement that the 49ers want to leave their Candlestick Point home, officials already are arguing that, if the team goes, the name stays.

Legal experts, however, say that if the team moves, the chances of it being forced to become the Santa Clara 49ers, the Silicon Valley 49ers, the San Francisco 49ers of Santa Clara or any other tongue-twisting combination, are slim to none. There simply are few -- if any -- legal grounds for requiring the team to keep the San Francisco name within the city limits, they say.

"Pretty much whatever the team wants to call itself, it can," said Matt Mitten, director of Marquette University's National Sports Law Institute in Milwaukee.

If the five-time Super Bowl championship team does relocate to the South Bay, it would join a growing list of professional sports teams that play in stadiums located outside their namesake cities.

The Buffalo Bills don't play in Buffalo. The Dallas Cowboys don't play in Dallas. The New York Jets and the New York Giants don't even play in New York state -- they're in New Jersey.

In baseball, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays play in St. Petersburg, Fla., and basketball's Detroit Pistons don't play in the Motor City, but in Auburn Hills, Mich.

And the name game is hardly limited to sports teams.

Rice-A-Roni's headquarters are far from the steep hills and cable cars featured in its advertisements. The San Francisco treat is more like a Windy City treat, located all the way in Chicago.

Forty-Niners representatives are emphatic about taking the San Francisco name to Santa Clara. And, if the move happens, officials in Santa Clara also are more than happy to leave their city's name off of the team logo.

"We absolutely remain committed to the San Francisco 49ers name. We will not change our name," team spokeswoman Lisa Lang said Monday. "It's the San Francisco Bay Area. We've been the San Francisco 49ers for 60 years, and if you look at other examples it's very common now for teams to be outside of their namesake."

The team informed San Francisco officials last week of its plans to drop a $600 million-$800 million stadium proposal for Candlestick Point and instead move the development to a parking lot near Great America amusement park in Santa Clara. The 49ers have been trying to rebuild the stadium at Candlestick Point for nearly 10 years, but the team said infrastructure concerns in San Francisco made Santa Clara a more appealing location.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom disputes the team's rationale. He also contends that when it comes to the 49ers, the name is more than just a football team. He has directed city lawyers to explore whether the city can legally prevent the team from using the words "San Francisco" if it moves to a new location 45 miles south.

"The 49ers mean a lot more than just football in San Francisco," Newsom told reporters last week. "It's about the founding of our city 150 or so years ago, and what the gold rush meant and the fact that we're coincidently a 49-square-mile city. That brand is important to us."

State Assemblyman Mark Leno, who represents San Francisco, was so angered by the announcement that he is considering legislation that would ban any professional sports franchise that is not headquartered or does not play games in San Francisco from using the city's name, unless the Board of Supervisors and mayor specifically authorize it.

"There is unique cachet to 'San Francisco,' given it is voted repeatedly as the No. 1 tourist destination," Leno said. "You can't use our name if you're not in San Francisco."

Experts in the field of sports and trademark law, however, say that because the San Francisco 49ers name is owned by the team, the city has little legal control over what becomes of it. They caution that one of the few ways the city could have a legal say over the name is if the current Candlestick Point stadium lease agreement between the city and the team specifies what should happen to the team name if the 49ers leave San Francisco.

San Francisco city lawyers are reviewing that lease.

"It's up to the team what they want to do. Maybe they just want to keep the identity with fans they already have," said Paul Anderson, a professor and assistant director of the National Sports Law Institute. "It's a political decision that has nothing to do with the law."

Unlike San Francisco, many cities have urged teams to keep their names when they leave town for nearby locations, experts said. Exceptions include long distance moves such as the St. Louis Rams, who were the Los Angeles Rams before they relocated, or the Brooklyn Dodgers, which became the Los Angeles Dodgers when they moved.

In the mid-1990s, the owner of the Cleveland Browns moved his NFL franchise to Baltimore, but only after an agreement was reached whereby a new team to be established in Cleveland would keep the Browns name and colors.

More recently, the city of Anaheim waged an unsuccessful court battle to force the Major League Baseball team Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to use the name Anaheim Angels. That fight, however, centered around whether the team violated the stadium's lease by using the Los Angeles name.

In San Diego, where the Chargers are looking to relocate to a new stadium, the mayor is pushing for the team to keep San Diego in its name if it moves from the city to another location in San Diego County.

Having the 49ers incorporate San Francisco in their name -- whether the team is located in the city or not -- ensures that the city's name will be used in radio and television advertisements and that on game days it will be broadcast in cities around the country. Images of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz that now lure tourists to the area could be shown less if the team is forbidden to use the city name.

"It's still favorable to have your name in there," Marquette's Mitten said. "It's just a move outside of the city limits."

Santa Clara Vice Mayor Kevin Moore was perplexed at why San Francisco officials would want to give up the name of their team.

"What benefit is there in giving up the name of the five-time Super Bowl champions?" he asked.

Moore acknowledged that Leno and Newsom's efforts surrounding the name could be seen as steps to make moving the team unattractive to the 49ers.

"I think it's appropriate for (Newsom) to use all his power to do what he feels is right," Moore said. "But if you want to protect the name San Francisco, some of the best support he will get is from Santa Clara."

If the team wins another Super Bowl, "the parades will still be in San Francisco," Moore added.

"The New York Giants play in New Jersey, and it works very well," he said. "The New York Giants didn't sue New Jersey and put up legislation."
The out-of-towners

Here is a partial list of professional sports teams that either currently play home games in stadiums outside their namesake cities or have proposals to do so.

Detroit Pistons

Auburn Hills, Mich.

New York Jets and New York Giants

East Rutherford, N.J.

Buffalo Bills

Orchard Park, N.Y.

Washington Redskins

Landover, Md.

Oakland A's

Recently announced a proposal to play in Fremont

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Anaheim (Orange County)

Dallas Cowboys

Irving, Texas (with planned stadium in Arlington, Texas)

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Phoenix Coyotes

Glendale, Ariz.

Source: San Francisco 49ers

The Chronicle
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Old November 14th, 2006, 10:20 PM   #5
surrill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metropolismayor View Post
49ers insist they'll keep 'San Francisco'
City leaders upset, say the name won't move with team


- Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's in a name? If you are the San Francisco 49ers, a lot, apparently.

A Super-Bowl-size battle is brewing over the fate of the team's name and whether it would still be allowed to call itself the San Francisco 49ers if it relocates to Santa Clara.

Team officials say that any move would involve bringing along the San Francisco name. But in the city by the bay, where leaders are furious over last week's surprise announcement that the 49ers want to leave their Candlestick Point home, officials already are arguing that, if the team goes, the name stays.

Legal experts, however, say that if the team moves, the chances of it being forced to become the Santa Clara 49ers, the Silicon Valley 49ers, the San Francisco 49ers of Santa Clara or any other tongue-twisting combination, are slim to none. There simply are few -- if any -- legal grounds for requiring the team to keep the San Francisco name within the city limits, they say.

"Pretty much whatever the team wants to call itself, it can," said Matt Mitten, director of Marquette University's National Sports Law Institute in Milwaukee.

If the five-time Super Bowl championship team does relocate to the South Bay, it would join a growing list of professional sports teams that play in stadiums located outside their namesake cities.

The Buffalo Bills don't play in Buffalo. The Dallas Cowboys don't play in Dallas. The New York Jets and the New York Giants don't even play in New York state -- they're in New Jersey.

In baseball, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays play in St. Petersburg, Fla., and basketball's Detroit Pistons don't play in the Motor City, but in Auburn Hills, Mich.

And the name game is hardly limited to sports teams.

Rice-A-Roni's headquarters are far from the steep hills and cable cars featured in its advertisements. The San Francisco treat is more like a Windy City treat, located all the way in Chicago.

Forty-Niners representatives are emphatic about taking the San Francisco name to Santa Clara. And, if the move happens, officials in Santa Clara also are more than happy to leave their city's name off of the team logo.

"We absolutely remain committed to the San Francisco 49ers name. We will not change our name," team spokeswoman Lisa Lang said Monday. "It's the San Francisco Bay Area. We've been the San Francisco 49ers for 60 years, and if you look at other examples it's very common now for teams to be outside of their namesake."

The team informed San Francisco officials last week of its plans to drop a $600 million-$800 million stadium proposal for Candlestick Point and instead move the development to a parking lot near Great America amusement park in Santa Clara. The 49ers have been trying to rebuild the stadium at Candlestick Point for nearly 10 years, but the team said infrastructure concerns in San Francisco made Santa Clara a more appealing location.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom disputes the team's rationale. He also contends that when it comes to the 49ers, the name is more than just a football team. He has directed city lawyers to explore whether the city can legally prevent the team from using the words "San Francisco" if it moves to a new location 45 miles south.

"The 49ers mean a lot more than just football in San Francisco," Newsom told reporters last week. "It's about the founding of our city 150 or so years ago, and what the gold rush meant and the fact that we're coincidently a 49-square-mile city. That brand is important to us."

State Assemblyman Mark Leno, who represents San Francisco, was so angered by the announcement that he is considering legislation that would ban any professional sports franchise that is not headquartered or does not play games in San Francisco from using the city's name, unless the Board of Supervisors and mayor specifically authorize it.

"There is unique cachet to 'San Francisco,' given it is voted repeatedly as the No. 1 tourist destination," Leno said. "You can't use our name if you're not in San Francisco."

Experts in the field of sports and trademark law, however, say that because the San Francisco 49ers name is owned by the team, the city has little legal control over what becomes of it. They caution that one of the few ways the city could have a legal say over the name is if the current Candlestick Point stadium lease agreement between the city and the team specifies what should happen to the team name if the 49ers leave San Francisco.

San Francisco city lawyers are reviewing that lease.

"It's up to the team what they want to do. Maybe they just want to keep the identity with fans they already have," said Paul Anderson, a professor and assistant director of the National Sports Law Institute. "It's a political decision that has nothing to do with the law."

Unlike San Francisco, many cities have urged teams to keep their names when they leave town for nearby locations, experts said. Exceptions include long distance moves such as the St. Louis Rams, who were the Los Angeles Rams before they relocated, or the Brooklyn Dodgers, which became the Los Angeles Dodgers when they moved.

In the mid-1990s, the owner of the Cleveland Browns moved his NFL franchise to Baltimore, but only after an agreement was reached whereby a new team to be established in Cleveland would keep the Browns name and colors.

More recently, the city of Anaheim waged an unsuccessful court battle to force the Major League Baseball team Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to use the name Anaheim Angels. That fight, however, centered around whether the team violated the stadium's lease by using the Los Angeles name.

In San Diego, where the Chargers are looking to relocate to a new stadium, the mayor is pushing for the team to keep San Diego in its name if it moves from the city to another location in San Diego County.

Having the 49ers incorporate San Francisco in their name -- whether the team is located in the city or not -- ensures that the city's name will be used in radio and television advertisements and that on game days it will be broadcast in cities around the country. Images of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz that now lure tourists to the area could be shown less if the team is forbidden to use the city name.

"It's still favorable to have your name in there," Marquette's Mitten said. "It's just a move outside of the city limits."

Santa Clara Vice Mayor Kevin Moore was perplexed at why San Francisco officials would want to give up the name of their team.

"What benefit is there in giving up the name of the five-time Super Bowl champions?" he asked.

Moore acknowledged that Leno and Newsom's efforts surrounding the name could be seen as steps to make moving the team unattractive to the 49ers.

"I think it's appropriate for (Newsom) to use all his power to do what he feels is right," Moore said. "But if you want to protect the name San Francisco, some of the best support he will get is from Santa Clara."

If the team wins another Super Bowl, "the parades will still be in San Francisco," Moore added.

"The New York Giants play in New Jersey, and it works very well," he said. "The New York Giants didn't sue New Jersey and put up legislation."
The out-of-towners

Here is a partial list of professional sports teams that either currently play home games in stadiums outside their namesake cities or have proposals to do so.

Detroit Pistons

Auburn Hills, Mich.

New York Jets and New York Giants

East Rutherford, N.J.

Buffalo Bills

Orchard Park, N.Y.

Washington Redskins

Landover, Md.

Oakland A's

Recently announced a proposal to play in Fremont

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Anaheim (Orange County)

Dallas Cowboys

Irving, Texas (with planned stadium in Arlington, Texas)

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Phoenix Coyotes

Glendale, Ariz.

Source: San Francisco 49ers

The Chronicle

they can keep the name.... san jose 49ers!
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Old November 15th, 2006, 12:07 AM   #6
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Meanwhile, in Fremont...


Here is the proposed Cisco Field in southern Alameda County.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 05:10 AM   #7
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Here is the proposed Cisco Field in southern Alameda County.
so i wonder what name theyll settle on....san jose a's of fremont? sillicon valley a's? fremont a's?oakland a's of fremont?
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Old November 15th, 2006, 05:37 AM   #8
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so i wonder what name theyll settle on....san jose a's of fremont? sillicon valley a's? fremont a's?oakland a's of fremont?
I like the San Jose A's (with or without "of Fremont"). BTW, how far is the San Jose city border from this spot? Anyone know?
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Old November 15th, 2006, 05:39 AM   #9
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Not that anyone gives a shit about this, but me...

but in all of the US west of the Mississippi River, aside from the St. Louis Cardinals (who tend to look eastward anyway), there isn't another team that is home grown, home raised, and always played in the same city longer than any other, a team dripping with tradition in a city that is so traditional, seeped in history, and many years of success as the

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

That should matter for something; sadly it doesn't.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 07:29 AM   #10
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Great article about the 49ers debacle and the new dynamics of power in NorCal

Some great points about the shifting center of power in the Bay Area. It seems like everyone, except San Franciscans, understands that the center of power in the Bay Area has moved to Silicon Valley.

Posted on Wed, Nov. 15, 2006

Skewed view of South Bay
NOT ALL 49ERS FANS LIVE IN `THE CITY'
By John Ryan
Mercury News


I went to a wedding in June 2002 at San Francisco's famed War Memorial. During the chitchat phase, I was seated next to a twentysomething woman from The City.

Her: ``So where do you live?''

Me: ``San Jose.''

Her: ``Oh, how is that? Is it really built up down there?''

At the time, San Jose was home to an estimated 915,898 people. San Francisco had 788,809.

Anyone who lives Down Here has had a similar moment or 10. My mind has drifted back to that one for a week now, ever since word emerged of the 49ers' decision to move to Santa Clara. The back-and-forth has featured an undercurrent of something we all know is there but like to be reminded of every now and then: the Superiority Complex, as expressed so eloquently by Dianne Feinstein, who said Tuesday with a smirk, ``You can't move to Santa Clara and call yourself a 49er. You'd have to be the Santa Clara Chips.''

Think she's as funny when attending fundraisers given by The Chipmakers?

Down Here, nobody would say San Francisco isn't the Bay Area's cultural sun. But in San Jose (and Santa Clara County), dozens of us have college degrees. One or two of us even went to a Broadway show once. Hey, Babs visited!

And regarding 49ers allegiance and where it comes from: Those traffic jams on 101 North before the games? Where do you think those people are coming from?

The write-ups and the radio make it sound as if a new stadium in San Francisco would allow the 49ers to play their games in Union Square while Beach Blanket Babylon performs simultaneously on a stage above the field. In reality, the choice is between a convenient area that has -- horrors! -- an amusement park next to it, or a blighted area where not one commenter ever spends any time or money other than for a 49ers game.

The wording is subtle. The proposed new stadium site is ``soulless,'' we were told by the San Francisco Chronicle, a word so nice they used it twice -- once being ``pure California sprawl, the kind of flat, soulless landscape that makes you think of the San Fernando Valley or the Inland Empire.''

The Oakland Tribune's Art Spander took note of the A's and 49ers' pending moves and opined that ``major league stadiums belong within the city limits, not out in the boondocks.'' Santa Clara has docks? Didn't know that. Didn't even know about the boons.

We all know San Franciscans who will not venture south of Palo Alto unless they are driving to Los Angeles. I know two couples where one spouse works in San Jose and the other ain't moving, which is roughly 500 hours of soul -- three full weeks -- evaporating in commutes over the course of a year, but whatever.

So let's get this straight: The 2012 Olympic bid could be called the San Francisco Olympics, even as every bid revision meant less and less of the Games actually taking place in San Francisco.

And in 1985, the Super Bowl was played at Stanford Stadium. When he awarded the bid in December 1982, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said, ``Stanford has great tradition. We like to move the game around the country and San Francisco, we feel, is an attractive city in which to have the game.''

San Francisco's mayor didn't object to that mistaken geography. Declared the news ``super,'' even.

As it turned out, because of a bet with Miami's mayor, the 49ers' victory meant a great meal of stone crabs.

For Mayor Feinstein.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 03:09 AM   #11
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Personally, I don't care which suburb the Niners move to. I just think it's too bad that this cancels our shot at the Olympics.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 04:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by metropolismayor View Post
I like the San Jose A's (with or without "of Fremont"). BTW, how far is the San Jose city border from this spot? Anyone know?

not too sure what the distance is in miles, but with no traffic, you can go from Pacific Commons to North San Jose in about 10 minutes.maybe less. not far at all.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 04:52 AM   #13
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Personally, I don't care which suburb the Niners move to. I just think it's too bad that this cancels our shot at the Olympics.
well heres to a beautiful stadium in Santa Clara with plenty of parking for tailgating, light rail and nice weather. And heres to the Silicon Valley Olympics in 2016!
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Old November 17th, 2006, 06:27 AM   #14
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well heres to a beautiful stadium in Santa Clara with plenty of parking for tailgating, light rail and nice weather. And heres to the Silicon Valley Olympics in 2016!
Well, I guess having the Olympics in the San Francisco suburbs is better than nothing.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 08:04 AM   #15
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Well, I guess having the Olympics in the San Francisco suburbs is better than nothing.
Silicon Valley the San Francisco suburbs?!...Ugh, as if!
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Old November 17th, 2006, 05:24 PM   #16
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Silicon Valley the San Francisco suburbs?!...Ugh, as if!
Sorry, my mistake. I didn't realize Mr. York wanted to call them the Silicon Valley 49'ers.

Last edited by Bay2Bay; November 17th, 2006 at 05:31 PM.
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Old November 19th, 2006, 10:23 PM   #17
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Two Merc and Chron articles

First, The Merc:

[B]Posted on Sun, Nov. 19, 2006

A's owner's grand vision

By Mary Anne Ostrom and April Lynch
Mercury News[/B]

A scrubby lot in Fremont may seem like an odd choice for a developer's field of dreams. But consider what downtown San Jose looked like almost 40 years ago, when Lew Wolff concocted an idea to build in the city's decaying core.

With what one admirer called a ``smoke and mirrors'' plan, Wolff turned a vacant lot into an office complex that was one of San Jose's first big redevelopment successes. The project launched a career that has helped reshape the city's downtown, and earned Wolff the millions that have helped make him a professional sports power broker.

Now, at 70, one of his elusive goals -- bringing a major league baseball team to the South Bay -- could be within reach. Wolff announced last week plans to build a new ballpark and move his Oakland A's to Fremont.

``It's the most fun I've ever had,'' is how Wolff summed it up in an interview Friday with the Mercury News.

But how might he pull it off? The new ballpark carries a price tag of $500 million. And in the Bay Area, trying to move teams and build stadiums is usually the business equivalent of a death wish.

Take a look at the San Jose deals masterminded by this nationally known developer, colleagues say. See what he's learned from his other business ventures. You'll find a clever, hard-nosed deal maker who can bring grand visions to life, even if he usually isn't the guy at the table packing the biggest wallet.

Wolff does this, observers say, by deftly leveraging public dollars and other assistance from cities eager to boost their stature. Friendly but tough, he also has the trust of some well-heeled billionaires, who back his plans and then leave Wolff in charge.

These investors seem willing to hand over control, in part, because they trust Wolff's instincts for good timing, quick decisions, and avoiding past mistakes. In the A's deal, Wolff has clearly learned from earlier sports strike-outs, crafting a plan that makes this show his own.

``He can play three-dimensional chess,'' said Jude Barry, a former mayoral chief of staff in San Jose who has watched Wolff operate -- and work to bring baseball to the South Bay -- for years. ``He understands development and economic trends, politics and sports. I think if anyone can pull it off, it's Lew Wolff.''

A native of St. Louis, Wolff has long had baseball and real estate in his blood. He started on his high school baseball team before attending the University of Wisconsin. After college, he began his career as a real estate appraiser in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s.

Wolff made his home in L.A., but took much of his real estate work northward, where he spotted a big opportunity in an agricultural area that was turning toward technology.

In the late 1960s, San Jose's neglected downtown needed an overhaul. A big developer had just backed out of a project to overhaul a vacant site.

``I looked around and both the Bank of America and Wells Fargo were in very old buildings,'' Wolff recalled. ``I thought if they would each take a new building, we might start a financial center.''

That idea led to plans for a new office complex, Park Center Plaza. Former San Jose mayor Tom McEnery remembers his father John, a civic activist, grilling Wolff when he went before city elders to present his project. At first, the locals didn't trust the outsider, doubting he had the money.

But with lenders and real estate partners in hand, Wolff cobbled the funds together. Park Center Plaza marked San Jose's first major downtown redevelopment -- and kick-started Wolff's development career.

McEnery recalled his father's prescient declaration to Wolff when he first presented his plans for the Park Center Plaza: ``You started as a consultant and now you're going to own the whole damn thing. Pretty fast work, young man.''

Wolff and his partners went on to build a dozen downtown San Jose buildings, totaling 1.5 million square feet, between the early '70s and the 1980s. The city subsidized most of the projects.

Some of that redevelopment money also went into hotels, an area to which Wolff shifted his focus. In the early 1990s, when city leaders wanted a hotel next to the new McEnery Convention Center, they turned to Wolff. With San Jose developer Phil DiNapoli, he built the high-rise -- and some would say pedestrian -- Hilton.

City leaders, who were putting about $17 million toward the $40 million project, worried the hotel lacked the flourishes to show the city in its best light. The city convinced Wolff to share the cost to add marble countertops and patterned carpets. It cost the city an extra $1.2 million.

But to Wolff's credit, former city redevelopment chief Frank Taylor said, the city got its subsidy back ahead of schedule. Wolff said the city eventually recouped every dime it put into the hotel.

Then, in 1996, Wolff pulled off a deal that's been called one of the most savvy in downtown San Jose real estate history. Together with one of his billionaire backers, a Saudi prince, Wolff purchased two-thirds of the landmark Fairmont Hotel for about $40 million. The hotel had cost more than $110 million to build a decade earlier.

The deal gave Wolff's group title to the city-owned land under the building. When the Fairmont sought to expand in 1997 by adding a high-rise tower, the city kicked in $6 million toward a complex deal intended to give it a share of the profits. The new tower opened -- just as the tech economy and local hotel occupancy tanked.

But Wolff and city officials said the project has still delivered decent returns. David Baum, budget director of the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, said the city recovered its $57.5 million investment in the Fairmont hotel and annex complex 1988 and 2002. In addition, the city receives more than $3.5 million a year from the property, including its share of hotel profits, proceeds from related retail ventures, and taxes.

Wolff has leveraged his San Jose successes into an impressive national real estate portfolio. His firms' holdings now focus mostly on high-end lodgings, including Fairmont and Four Seasons hotels across the country.

Wolff won't reveal his net worth. But he's clearly had money to indulge his love of sports, at one point taking minority ownership stakes in San Jose minor league baseball and the Golden State Warriors.

With Gap family heir John Fisher, Wolff bought the A's and took the helm as managing partner in 2005. Even as he juggles the A's deal, Wolff is also looking to build a soccer stadium and revive the San Jose Earthquakes.

Those efforts reflect Wolff's longstanding belief in bringing major league sports to the South Bay. Between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, he and civic boosters hatched plans to bring several teams southward, including the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors.

But none of those campaigns panned out, even when Wolff took his minority stake in the Warriors about a decade ago. Local politics scuttled some of the deals, and competing sports business interests helped kill others.

Wolff's biggest slip-up, in fact, came from a sports venture. In 1999, he joined a group of investors who had recently bought Toronto's SkyDome. The stadium, with its famous retractable roof, proved to be a money pit. Five years later, the group sold it at a loss.

``It was the worst deal I ever made,'' Wolff said. But he also learned some important lessons, especially on control of teams and the places they play. ``Every team should control its own destiny,'' he said.

He is also a pragmatist who will walk away when a deal looks hopeless.

At the urging of local officials who hoped the A's might choose downtown San Jose, Wolff talked with Giants owners to see if they would ever give up or sell their Major League Baseball-sanctioned territorial rights in exchange for financial compensation. They wouldn't budge, precluding any A's move into Santa Clara County. Wolff decided not to waste any more time, taking his property search to southern Alameda County.

``The cost of indecision in a wonderful state like California is greater than the cost of making a decision,'' Wolff said.

The result of Wolff's hunt is his proposed Fremont ``baseball village'' -- an endeavor bearing all the trademarks of his career. In the 143-acre site, Wolff has found affordable land controlled by a large Silicon Valley company, Cisco Systems. That company is run by the marketing-savvy John Chambers, who happens to be a sports fan.

Through a former A's owner, Wolff met Chambers and sold him on his big idea. The two struck a $4 million-a-year deal that would give Cisco naming rights to the ballpark, and eventually give the A's control of the land.

In Fremont, Wolff has a potential partner similar to San Jose in the early 1970s. The burgeoning Silicon Valley suburb is looking for ways to boost its profile. While many details have yet to be worked out, Wolff plans to seek zoning changes so homes and shops can be built on the site, making that chunk of the city immensely more valuable.

It's still not clear how he will cover the cost of the new ballpark and surrounding development, estimated at more than $400 million. But money questions haven't daunted Wolff before. Nor have the realities of moving a team.

``To build a ballpark is like hiking up Mount Everest,'' said Giants Vice President Larry Baer, part of the team that built AT&T Park. ``It's a tough slog and you always get surprises.''

Wolff won't mind those jolts, friends and colleagues said. This is his chance to put all his skills, first honed in San Jose, to their ultimate test.

``Buying the A's has rejuvenated him,'' said John Heagerty, an old Wolff friend. ``He has a little more bounce in his step. Some would be on the path to retirement. He's got his second or third wind.''

From The Chron:

Broken dreams of other teams litter 49ers' road to new Santa Clara home
- Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Sunday, November 19, 2006


Don't go banking on Santa Clara being the answer to 49ers co-owner John York's stadium dreams just yet -- questions of land, financing and history itself suggest he may be in for tough times.

There have been three attempts in the last 16 years -- involving the Giants, the A's and Major League Soccer -- to bring big-league sports to Santa Clara, and "we have yet to find one that works,'' said Santa Clara Assistant City Manager Ron Garratt.

Garratt said the 49ers' latest plan could run up against the same financial impediments that helped destroy the other proposals.

The Niners hope to build their stadium on a 55-acre parking lot next to the Great America amusement park, and tinkering with any part of the park's operation won't be easy. The park's new operator, Cedar Fair of Ohio, is on the hook to the city for $5.3 million a year in lease payments -- all of which helps fund the city's libraries, parks and other services.

The city has been clear that it doesn't want to tap its general fund to help build a stadium -- and that goes for jeopardizing money that is paid into the fund now.

Cedar Fair says it has been contacted by the Niners about the idea of partnering up, and it's prepared to listen. But Garratt says whoever ends up building the stadium must know that Santa Clara needs to remain financially whole.

In other words: no free land.

Even if the Niners get the Great America lot, York and Co. may still need additional land for housing, retail and the like to bankroll a stadium expected to cost as much as $800 million.

But, according to Garratt, who doubles as Santa Clara's property manager, the city doesn't own any other land that could fit the bill.

The team could try to score some privately held property in Santa Clara, or find a partner willing to help cover their costs, as the A's are doing with Cisco Systems for their proposed Fremont ballpark. In that deal, Cisco is paying $4 million a year for naming rights, plus helping the A's acquire the site.

But there aren't a lot of open pieces of land left in the city of 102,000, Garratt says. In fact, the only property he's aware of is a 40-acre site recently acquired by Yahoo -- and Santa Clara already is looking to the Internet company to build a corporate campus there.

Boosters of the 49ers' Santa Clara move have pointed to a 13.5-acre, city-owned parcel across from Great America that is now an overflow parking lot for the theme park.

But Garratt says that land is "part and parcel'' of the city's lease with Cedar Fair, and contributes to the 8,100 parking spaces committed for the theme park. Even if the Niners could build there, he said, city policy bars any new housing on that acreage -- and taking the land for any kind of development would only add to the need for an expensive garage to accommodate the stadium and Great America patrons.

To further complicate matters, the city's Bayshore Redevelopment North Project, which provides for many of the tax breaks for such ventures, isn't going to be able to offer a repayment package for as long as the team might like -- say 30 years -- meaning the debt service is going to be expensive.

Still, folks like Santa Clara Vice Mayor Kevin Moore say they are convinced that a new Niners stadium pencils out at the proposed site.

''I don't have 1 ounce of doubt that the financing will be in place,'' Moore said, citing the likelihood of big corporate naming rights, plus the National Football League's existing offer to help finance any new stadium with as much as $150 million.

Santa Clara bureaucrats say they are still awaiting word from the City Council to actually begin talks with the team, and council members say they are waiting for the 49ers to bring them a plan.

After meeting with York on Tuesday, Mayor Patricia Mahan said, "My understanding is that they want to get going as soon as possible and that they'll have more specific plans in the very near future."

As for the reaction from Niners headquarters in Santa Clara, team spokeswoman Lisa Lang said: "We are not going to negotiate this in the public. ... When we have it figured out, we will call you.''
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Old November 21st, 2006, 06:42 AM   #18
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Detroit Pistons

Auburn Hills, Mich.

New York Jets and New York Giants

East Rutherford, N.J.

Buffalo Bills

Orchard Park, N.Y.

Washington Redskins

Landover, Md.

Oakland A's

Recently announced a proposal to play in Fremont

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Anaheim (Orange County)

Dallas Cowboys

Irving, Texas (with planned stadium in Arlington, Texas)

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Phoenix Coyotes

Glendale, Ariz.

Source: San Francisco 49ers

The Chronicle[/QUOTE]

Do the above exist? Sure. But then you get those wonderful old NFL franchises that have played within the city limits of their community for over 50 straight years (the Lions wish they were on the list, but aren't because they had to come home to downtown Detroit), those projection of stability and tradition, those special franchises with a personal relationship between team and home town:

Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers
Philadephia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

That's it, guys. 5 precious franchises. Only one west of the Mississippi.
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Old November 23rd, 2006, 01:37 AM   #19
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Developer unveils S.F. stadium plan
NINERS: `SPECTACULAR' CONCEPT UNWORKABLE
By Mike Swift and David Pollak
Mercury News

The Candlestick Point vision unveiled Tuesday before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was beguiling.

There would be a stunning bay-front park, replete with a windsurfing beach. A landscaped pedestrian terrace lined with shops would run from the new San Francisco 49ers stadium through a vibrant new urban neighborhood of 6,500 homes grafted to the rest of San Francisco. There would be 3,000 new jobs, a separate 10,000-seat indoor sports arena, and energy generated by wind and solar power.

Even Larry MacNeil, chief financial officer for the 49ers, looked at the plan developers presented and had a one-word description: ``Spectacular.''

There was only one problem, MacNeil told supervisors: ``It just does not work for an NFL stadium.''

Tuesday, the 49ers and Lennar Corp., the team's chosen development partner at Candlestick Point, faced off in the white marble arena of San Francisco City Hall. Mayor Gavin Newsom requested the hearing to put the full development plan before the public and win supervisors' support for his efforts to keep the team in San Francisco.

City supervisors praised the project. But after the hearing, it was clear that through all the controversy since the 49ers announced Nov. 9 they were considering a new stadium in Santa Clara, one thing hasn't changed:

The 49ers have major doubts whether the dense and complex mixed-use development intended to subsidize construction of a new stadium at Candlestick Point can be built in time for the team's 2012 deadline for its new home.

The problems, MacNeil told supervisors, are the same ones the 49ers have been citing since the team announced that Santa Clara had replaced San Francisco as the preferred site for a new stadium:

• The sheer magnitude of the plan means there is significant financial and political risk that the project wouldn't work, particularly by the 2012 deadline.

• The 9,300-car parking garage needed to support the project -- triple the size of the new garage at San Francisco International Airport -- would require that fans wait up to an hour in their cars to exit after games.

• The time needed to build the new 69,000-seat stadium, demolish Monster Park and develop an entire new neighborhood in its place would disrupt 49ers fans for nearly a decade. In one season during the 10-year construction project, MacNeil said, 24,000 fans would have to be bused to each game from satellite parking lots.

City officials acknowledged Tuesday that the $765 million in improvements to roads, bridges and transit would require public spending, probably from state and federal taxpayers.

But MacNeil said it wasn't clear how Lennar would pay for the balance.

``The idea that Lennar will pay for all of this infrastructure is clearly contingent on Lennar's ability to sell homes at a profit. We are now exposing ourselves to risk in the housing market, risk in the capital market, risk in the construction market,'' he said.

Kofi Bonner, Lennar's Bay Area president, said the project would generate a 25-percent profit, sufficient to obtain financing and to provide the 49ers with a subsidy to help the organization build its stadium.

Responding to a question from Supervisor Tom Ammiano, MacNeil said a possible citizen vote on the project did not scare the 49ers away. Nor did negotiations fall apart because of political worries or lack of communication with Newsom or other city officials.

``It's absolutely not a deal breaker,'' he said of a citizen vote. ``It's not because somebody didn't go to dinner with us.''

Whatever problems the plan presented for the 49ers, the supervisors saw it as a great vision for San Francisco, particularly the economically depressed Bayview neighborhood.

In fact, Michael Cohen, director of the mayor's office of economic and workforce development, urged that the city plunge ahead and hope the 49ers decide to sign up.

``Probably one of the best things we can do to keep the 49ers in San Francisco is also one of the best things we can do with Bayview, and that's to move forward with the plan,'' Cohen told supervisors.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, whose district includes the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, said the city should not give up on its efforts to keep the team in her district.

``I think it's extremely important that we take this opportunity to really come together and put all our differences aside and look at what's at stake here,'' Maxwell said. ``The 49ers have been an important part of the community and they've been a great asset in many, many ways.''

The 49ers plan to continue talks with both cities in the coming weeks.

Cohen said government approvals and planning could be completed in two years, allowing the 49ers to begin building the stadium at Candlestick in 2009 -- enough time for the stadium to open for the 2012 NFL season.

``This timetable was achievable two weeks ago,'' when the 49ers announced plans to go to Santa Clara, ``and it is achievable today,'' Cohen said.

The city and McNeil presented such starkly differing viewpoints that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi finally asked Cohen: ``Are we as far apart in your mind as he is suggesting?'

Cohen responded, ``That's an awfully hard question to answer. I'll leave it at that.''



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Old November 25th, 2006, 01:38 AM   #20
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Posted on Fri, Nov. 24, 2006

Deluxe stadium may enrich 49ers
LUXURY BOXES COULD BOOST CLUB'S WORTH OFF THE FIELD
By Mike Swift
Mercury News


Their fortunes are improving on the field, but the San Francisco 49ers remain among the NFL's dregs in a pecking order owners follow as closely as wins and losses: With some of the league's most anemic stadium revenues, the 49ers are among pro football's least valuable franchises.

A new stadium -- stocked with 150 luxury suites, 7,500 premium club seats and promising at least $300 million in advertising and concession deals -- would catapult the 49ers toward the top of the NFL's value chart, boosting the club's worth by at least $150 million, say experts who track the value of major league sports teams.

It's a business model that the Washington Redskins, the New England Patriots and most recently the Philadelphia Eagles have perfected, using new stadiums built to generate more wealth, no matter how successful a team is on the field.

The 49ers say boosting the franchise value is not the primary reason they are seeking a new stadium. Monster Park, one of the league's oldest stadiums and the 49ers home since 1971, is worn out and needs to be replaced, team officials say.

But in many markets, a new stadium has produced a windfall for owners.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft paid $172 million for the team in 1994. Today, with the Patriots playing in a new suburban Boston stadium partly financed by the NFL, in a market with wealthy demographics like the Bay Area's, the franchise is valued by Forbes magazine at $1.2 billion. That is the second-highest among the four major sports (football, basketball, baseball and hockey), more valuable than even the storied New York Yankees.

Haves, have-nots

In the NFL, ``what separates the haves and have-nots is the stadium,'' said Kurt Badenhausen, an associate editor with Forbes, which tracks the value of teams in the four major sports. ``If you look at the teams at the bottom of the list, they are the ones with the oldest buildings.''

With franchise value tied to team revenues, ``if you see you can increase your revenues by $25 (million) to $30 million a year, you make the move,'' said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College who says a new stadium could boost the 49ers' value by as much as $250 million.

After a decade trying to get a new stadium at Candlestick Point, the 49ers have turned to a stadium site near Great America in Santa Clara, and the team says its timetable has become critical to opening a stadium by 2012.

But the team faces another hurdle. The 49ers hope to tap the same NFL stadium financing fund the Patriots and Eagles used to build new stadiums, but the fund's future is unclear.

``We're getting close to reaching the financial limits'' of the program, said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

49ers officials acknowledge NFL financing will be critical to a new stadium, but say they won't necessarily need a huge subsidy from the league in any case.

``If you look at the 49ers' stadium effort, the level of investment by the team owners here will be unprecedented,'' said Lal Heneghan, the 49ers executive vice president for football operations. ``It certainly would be nice to have the stadium, and bolster the value of the franchise. In this case, it will come at an expense to the team which is unprecedented in the NFL.''

Sports revolution

In the late 1980s, a new arena for the NBA's Detroit Pistons ushered in a sports revolution by introducing luxury suites and other expensive seating that appeals to corporations and other high rollers. The premium seating has helped finance a new generation of sports venues that create rich new sources of revenue for teams.

Since completion of the Palace at Auburn Hills, about three quarters of the 122 teams in the four major sports leagues have built new stadiums and arenas, most at least partly financed by taxpayers. Cities from Los Angeles to Hartford, Conn., saw their teams depart for cities dangling lucrative stadium deals.

``The places in this country that have not had new stadiums are the major markets,'' said Bill Dorsey, executive director of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, a trade group that helps teams sell and lease luxury seating. ``We're talking New York City, San Francisco to some extent, Los Angeles, have not had new stadiums. And the reason is the politics, and that land is so hard to find.''

That reality is why the most valuable NFL franchises often don't play in the biggest cities. The Bay Area is one of the NFL's six largest television markets, but the Oakland Raiders and the 49ers ranked 28th and 29th, respectively, in value among the league's 32 teams, Forbes says.

Because the NFL equally shares its $3.7 billion in annual television revenue between teams, a stadium is much of what differentiates a team's wealth.

The newest stadiums feature a large number of luxury suites -- separate, enclosed boxes typically leased by corporations -- and club seats -- with special amenities such as waiter service or access to stadium restaurants. Teams also are devoting more space in the lower stadium bowls -- seats that command higher prices.

Nobody has been more aggressive with that model than Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who paid $800 million for the Redskins and the stadium in 1999. Snyder expanded the stadium to hold the most luxury suites and club seats in the NFL.

Seven years later, Forbes pegs the Redskins' value at $1.4 billion -- tops in U.S. sports, and nearly double the value of the Raiders and 49ers -- although the team has been less than a juggernaut on the field.

Forbes estimates that the Redskins earn $80 million a year from their 240 luxury suites and nearly 20,000 club seats.

In contrast, the 49ers have no club seats and earn about $6.5 million a year from luxury seating, second lowest in the NFL, Forbes says. The 49ers and the Redskins would not confirm or refute those numbers.

``You have a situation where the rest of the teams are now largely in new stadiums. They have the additional revenue capacity that they then can channel back into their business operations,'' said Robert Tilliss, an investment banker who helped structure the NFL program to help finance and renovate stadiums, dubbed G-3.

NFL program

Funded in part by television revenues, G-3 has helped 10 teams finance new stadiums or renovations since 1999. But with big market teams now seeking the same assistance from the fund that small-market teams have received, NFL owners are debating changes.

``There's a helluva lot of uncertainty,'' said one league insider familiar with the G-3 dispute. The 49ers have been negotiating ``for 10 years with the city of San Francisco, while that G-3 money was there. That ship may have sailed, who knows? It's got to be frustrating for the 49ers.''

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said recently that the league would continue to subsidize new stadiums, but the program might change.

With the NFL salary cap growing as stadium and television revenues increase, teams without a new stadium risk falling behind on the field, said Sal Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York investment bank and advisory firm for big-league sports franchises.

The 49ers continue to spend all that is available under the NFL salary cap, $102 million per team in player salaries this season. The player salary cap ``is based on average football revenues, and as more and more teams get new stadiums, the average revenues go up,'' Galatioto said. If the 49ers are stuck in an old stadium, ``they are going to be condemned to be in the lowest quartile in the league in terms of the revenue. It's going to be harder and harder for them to compete.''

Naming rights are another big stadium incentive. San Francisco gets the money from naming rights at Monster Park, but that would change if the 49ers are able to finance a new stadium. The stadium, formerly called Candlestick Park, was renamed Monster Park in 2004.

The New York Mets recently announced the largest naming rights deal in sports history -- Citigroup will pay $20 million annually over 20 years to christen the Mets' new ballpark CitiField.

Tilliss said a 49ers deal in Silicon Valley would also be sizable. The Houston Texans' naming rights deal at Reliant Stadium -- about $10 million a year over 32 years, or about $300 million -- is a better benchmark for the 49ers, he said.

``I would think they would be on the upper end of what's been done,'' said Tilliss, CEO of Inner Circle Sports LLC in New York. ``There are so many high-tech companies out there looking at branding opportunities.''
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