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December 03, 2011

49ers strike deal for Santa Clara stadium financing

The San Francisco 49ers and city of Santa Clara announced yesterday that they've agreed on a financing deal to build a $1 billion stadium. The highlights:

  • Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank, and Bank of America will loan the city $850 million towards construction costs. Another $150 million will come from the 49ers, via the sale of luxury suites.
  • The city's share — double the amount initially approved a year and a half ago — will now be repaid by ticket sales, stadium naming rights, $30 million a year in rent (up from $5 million) from the team, $150 million from the NFL, $40 million from the city redevelopment agency, and $35 million from hotel taxes.

I'll have more on this after I've had a chance to read the actual development agreement, but for now the upshot appears to be that by upping the team's rent by $25 million a year and having the city use the proceeds to pay off an extra $400 million in debt, the 49ers convinced banks to finally provide a loan for the stadium. (Having a city treasury to fall back on as collateral always helps.) The downside for the city, obviously, is that a risky deal just got even riskier.

Regardless, barring an unexpected lawsuit or a sudden change of heart by the Santa Clara city council, it seems likely that we're looking at construction starting sometime next year, with the 49ers landing in the South Bay by 2015.

More on Monday.


I wonder how much of that funding comes from bailout money?

Posted by Oakland S� on December 3, 2011 10:08 AM

Neil- what was on the ballot for voter approval was only $42 million in RDA funds - the Stadium Authority's contribution was hidden from view during the campaign.

Just as predicted, the SA was hidden from view to heap debt upon the SA. The Term Sheet called for the 49ers to pay $493 million (it's now down to $150 million) and the city and its agencies to pay $444 million (now up to $114 million from the public (RDA, hotel taxes, parking garage and moving the electric substation) - the Stadium Authority's contribution is now up to $850 million.

This is NOT what people voted for. And it's worth noting that the entity the city/Stadium Authority will be dealing with is a limited liability corporation, Stadco, owned by the 49ers owners.

All of the risks and the liability have been heaped upon tiny Santa Clara. That is what our city council majority of stadium boosters have brought down on us.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on December 3, 2011 10:56 AM

Guess there was funding after all....

Posted by bottomline on December 3, 2011 03:14 PM

Well, banks weren't willing to lend to the 49ers, it turned out — but they were willing to lend to Santa Clara. So saying "there was financing" is a bit like saying, "See, you could get a mortgage!" when the ultimate solution was to have your parents co-sign your loan.

Posted by Neil deMause on December 3, 2011 03:46 PM

A truly tragic day for this community. And all for what? So a bunch of neanderthals can watch a bunch of other neanderthals slam into each other? Where's the enlightenment, the enrichment in that? When will people in the country flock to museums, ballet performances, or operas like they do to these mindless sporting events? When will musical theater, for example, have the same kind of passionate fans that football does?

Arts > Sports

Posted by John on December 3, 2011 06:20 PM

When musical theater incorporates tailgating, beer, cheerleaders, and a hell of a lot more machismo into itself then maybe it'll get a bigger following...

Posted by Dan on December 3, 2011 07:32 PM

Also please refrain from putting down those that enjoy sports by calling them "neanderthals" lest you want people to start calling your art loving folks "fairies" or the like...

Posted by Dan on December 3, 2011 07:45 PM

If the only choices were musical theater or football, I might just disprove the substitution effect by staying home and refusing to spend my money.

Posted by Neil deMause on December 3, 2011 09:57 PM

Rest easy, John. Motion pictures are our highest form of art, and they cumulatively make about as much money in a year in the U.S. as the NFL does.

Posted by Ben Miller on December 3, 2011 10:53 PM

I like the "arts" and used to like pro-sports. I just think the greed got completely out of control the past twenty years or so. I don't blame the 49ers for the screwing that they're going to administer to the city. I blame the city council that didn't have the integrity or intelligence to protect the city.

Posted by santa clara jay on December 3, 2011 11:21 PM

John, you are the epitome of stupid. Yes, the arts are great. I love art. I also love sports. How about: let's have both and you stay away from sports??? Because, clearly, you are incapable of enjoying an American tradition. I really like this deal for both sides.

Posted by Lou on December 4, 2011 12:59 AM

Lou. I'm a 49ers fan. However, I'm also a Santa Clara resident. I don't like the risks being placed upon my city. If we had the reserves to undertake an $850 million obligation, I'd say go right ahead. The reality is we're a small city which has a projected $55 million budget deficit. If the stadium is unable to pay for itself ( a realistic possibility), who is going to provide a financial backstop for the stadium authority when the bills are due? Historically, its been the taxpayers who've provided stadium related bailouts. I for one am not for having my fees & taxes raised, or my services cut, in order to provide a stadium for the 49ers.

Posted by santaclarawillbebroke on December 4, 2011 10:25 PM

We might be jumping the gun here. Santa Clara Measure J was defined as: "Shall the City of Santa Clara adopt Ordinance 17.20 leasing City property for a professional football stadium and other events"

Santa Clara Ordinance 17.20.020 "Required terms for a ground lease for a stadium"
(c) The City shall not subordinate its interest in the stadium site or in any other property or in the ground rent to any financing or subsequent refinancing of the stadium, and no City general fund monies or enterprise fund monies may be pledged as collateral for any Stadium Authority financing or subsequent refinancing.
(j) Neither the City nor its Redevelopment Agency shall be liable for the obligations of the Stadium Authority, including operating and maintenance expenses of the stadium; provided, that the City may elect to pay operating and maintenance expenses of events conducted or approved by the City that are not NFL events or non-NFL events.

I don't see how Santa Clara can collateralize the Stadium Authority loans without directly violating the Ordinance that was voted into law.

Posted by Thomas on December 4, 2011 11:47 PM

It's not realistic to think that anything but the most artificial of firewalls exists between the city and its authority.

The very same people on the council are on the authority!

Can anyone believe for one second that when the agency gets into financial distress, that the city (the same thing essentially) won't be bailing it out?

Or put it other way, what would the future bonding capacity of the city be if they let the SA go bankrupt? Will potential lenders say "oh well, it's the SA, and not the city".

Posted by santa clara jay on December 5, 2011 12:17 AM

"...what would the future bonding capacity of the city be if they let the SA go bankrupt? Will potential lenders say "oh well, it's the SA, and not the city". "

SC Jay, it would be a complete disaster for Santa Clara. The Debt Schedule presented on August 16th shows outstanding debt of $1,400,000,000, with $1,220,000,000 of that down to our electric utility, Silicon Valley Power.

If even the hint of a Stadium Authority default were to reach the bond rating agencies, they'll downgrade not just the Stadium Authority debt, but ALL of our debt.

Imagine a massive increase in debt service costs on $1.22 billion having to come out of the rates paid by about 40,000 Santa Clara households.

It's a real risk.

But the 49ers Stadium Boosters, as usual, are whistling in the dark.

Bill Bailey, Treasurer,


Posted by Bill Bailey on December 5, 2011 12:28 AM

Greetings, Neil,

Unfortunately, the $30M Ground Lease Payment is not guaranteed - the San Francisco 49ers reserve to the right to reduce it depending upon how much pain they'll be allowed to inflict upon the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.

Also, the investment banks aren't lending $850,000,000 to us - $400 million of that is being passed through the 49ers themselves so that the team can collect interest on it from the Stadium Authority.

That interest rate paid by a Santa Clara City Agency? *** Up to 8.5%.*** You can bet your bottom dollar that Goldmans, Sachs certainly isn't charging the 49ers anywhere near that interest rate.

Bill Bailey, Treasurer,


Posted by Bill Bailey on December 5, 2011 12:33 AM

"Having a city treasury to fall back on as collateral always helps."

Our city's General Fund is already being raided because of the stadium subsidy - the SB 211 amendment to the North-of-Bayshore RDA made sure that it would be.

We were also promised that the stadium subsidy would never place our city's General Fund at risk - but that was just an empty promise, meant to be broken.

Bill Bailey, Treasurer,


Posted by Bill Bailey on December 5, 2011 12:49 AM

Bill, where are you getting the 8.5% interest rate figure? I've looked and looked for documentation for this, but all I'm coming up with is posts by you.

Posted by Neil deMause on December 5, 2011 08:07 AM

Neil: Most likely the 8.5% interest rate derives from money the 49ers supposedly loaned out to Santa Clara's RDA in the event that agency didn't have sufficient financial resources to meet their contribution. Most likely, any pass through of funds from the 49ers will carry some sort of interest rate. I doubt they would go much lower than their initial standard rate. However, let's stay on point. The stadium's financing mechanisms place my city directly in harm's way. The 49ers are going to be insulated from any investment risk in the stadium and there will not be sufficient revenues created to pay for the annual expenses. If the stadium opens in 2015, by 2021 the Santa Clara Stadium Authority will be out of money.

Posted by santaclarawillbebroke on December 5, 2011 09:34 AM

That's the risk, certainly. It all depends on how successful they are at selling naming rights and PSLs, and how much rent the 49ers agree to pay. (See today's item.)

Posted by Neil deMause on December 5, 2011 10:13 AM

Hello, Neil,

The whole story isn't the nine-pager that the city tried to link us to originally. It's the 421-pager that's actually on the City Council Agenda for tomorrow night's (Tues.'s) Study Session:

See page 21/421 for a description of the "Advance Interest Rate," which we already know is applicable to the $30,000,000 that the 49ers are going to milk out of our RDA. That's the lower of 8.5% or the rate on BB Corporate Bonds barely one rating over junk bonds.

See page 37/421 for a bare-bones description of the "Stadco Subordinated Loan" to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.

They're real cagey about it, but they're borrowing, then shoving, that $400,000,000 onto our Stadium Authority as a loan we're responsible for - and I will not believe that they're going to take a loss on that money.

There shouldn't be much doubt that the Stadco Loan Terms are going to be written by the Team's mouthpieces. They'll be favoring the Team and not our Stadium Authority - and their terms are going to be real close to what's being done to our RDA.

Thanks and regards,

Bill Bailey, Treasurer,


Posted by Bill Bailey on December 5, 2011 11:33 AM

I am desperately trying to get a personal loan to cover debts and other things. My earning - expenses rates are not great and I am having trouble getting it with the bank... any suggestions?

Posted by Licensed Money Lender on December 6, 2011 08:02 PM

Jed? That you?


Posted by Bill Bailey on December 7, 2011 02:19 AM

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