The ongoing feud between the 49ers and the City of Santa Clara, in its role as Santa Clara Stadium Authority, boiled over this week, just as the team returned to town for summer training camp.
Stadium Authority Executive Director Deanna Santana sent a public letter Monday calling for the Super Bowl runners up to cough up more than a million dollars.
Santana, who also serves at Santa Clara’s City Manager, said the 49ers are failing to comply with Measure J. That is a voter-passed initiative prohibiting city funds from being used for stadium maintenance and operations.
According to Santana’s letter, the city provided public safety for both NFL and non-NFL events last year. The unpaid bill for those services stands at $1.1 million. The 49ers say they won’t pay until the Stadium Authority offsets operating losses totaling more than $2.7 million.
The verbal volleys only heated up from there. Santana accused the 49ers of worsening the city’s public resources, at a time when COVID-19 is harming the local economy.
In a statement to San Jose Inside, the 49ers punched back.
“Mayor [Lisa] Gillmor and her million-dollar-a-year city manager are cherry-picking numbers entirely out of context and relying on fuzzy math,” the 49ers Rahul Chandhok told the outlet.
Apparently, low or lost revenue from stadium events has added to the deteriorating relationship. Santana’s letter noted that just two non-NFL events in the last fiscal year made money.
The US Women’s National Soccer team match against South Africa and a Rolling Stones show profited, while seven others lost. According to Santana’s chart, the Pac-12 Championship alone lost more than $2.2 million for the stadium.
Throughout 2019, Santa Clara made moves to get the 49ers out of non-football events. That effort culminated in September 2019 when the city council voted to start a process to end the team’s management deal.
Where things go from here remains up for grabs.