I don’t disagree very often with Randy Shaw, but I disagree with his view
that the 49ers departure would be better economically for San Francisco taxpayers. I think that everybody would agree that the existing life span for Candlestick Park expired about 20 years ago and that it would be a waste to invest anymore money into Candlestick, or for a San Francisco outdoor stadium that would be unusable much of the year because of the unpredictable nature of San Francisco weather. The only San Francisco stadium that would make sense would be a domed stadium similar to the Dallas Cowboys new stadium, which is a multipurpose facility that has hosted everything from boxing matches, basketball games, large conferences and mega concerts.
The Dallas Stadium is designed for a quick turnaround allowing the facility to be used year around, even during football season. With the exception of the University of Phoenix stadium in Arizona, there is no facility west of Dallas that meets the specifications to host the NCAA Final Four or large conventions, including political conventions that currently bypass San Francisco for Las Vegas,Orlando, New Orleans and other cities with convention centers larger than Moscone Center. Such a facility would also be a more suitable home for the annual Oracle convention which has outgrown its Moscone Center home to the point where Oracle CEO Larry Ellison pays The City millions to block off Howard Street to handle the overflow from the Oracle World conference.
A source of revenue The City receives from having the 49ers play in San Francisco that's often overlooked and hard to quantify is the money spent with local businesses on game day weekend. If you’re in The City on game day, there’ s a buzz on Sunday. Restaurants are full with 49ers fans eating breakfast or brunch before heading to the stadium. It’s also a misconception that every 49er fan drives to and from Candlestick without setting foot in other parts of The City. Muni buses and BART trains are packed on game day with Niner Fans and many of these fans can be found after games in bars, restaurants and stores near BART stations and the Ferry building celebrating another 49ers victory before catching BART, ferries or Amtrak trains back home.
The City also generates tax revenue from visiting teams, tv media crews, journalists and NFL officials who stay in San Francisco hotels and dine in San Francisco restaurants, as well as out of town fans of 49ers opponents who combine a vacation to one of America's favorite tourist cities with a weekend of football. The City's visitors bureau says that the average visitor spends an average of $150 dollars a day on hotel rooms that impose a 13% city tax to support San Francisco art and culture programs. The bureau also says visitors spend on average another $150 a day on food, drinks, shopping and admission to museums, concerts, tours and other attractions. Niner coach Jim Harbaugh attributed the Niners only home loss of the year to large number of Cowboys fans at Candlestick. Harbaugh said there were so many Dallas fans at the 'Stick that it sounded like the game was being played in Dallas.
In addition to fans from opposing teams spending money in San Francisco hotels and restaurants during Gameday weekend, 49ers fans from the far flung regions of the 49ers empire also contribute to game day spending in The City. The 49ers fan base extends from the North Coast, Reno and San Luis Obispo. While many of these fans will drive to and from games, many more will scan the travel websites for hotel deals to spend the weekend in San Francisco. You can also include into this economic mix Southern California UCLA and USC students and alumni who stay in San Francisco hotels when their teams battle Stanford and Cal on Saturday and spend an extra day in San Francisco to see the Niners play on Sunday.
One entity that will take an immediate hit when the 49ers leave will be the cash strapped San Francisco school district athletic program. When financial problems threatened to shut down the district’s high school sports program in the 1970s, Bill Graham, Francis Ford Coppola and Marlon Brando sponsored the now famous SNACK (Students Need Athletics, Culture and Kicks) fundraising concert that featured Santana,Tower of Power, Neil Young and other performers. The attention from the concert inspired San Francisco voters to approve a 25 cent tax on stadium tickets sold in San Francisco. When the 49ers leave the school district faces a loss of nearly a million dollars in ticket taxes from 49ers games.
Another likely loss would be charitable contributions made by the 49ers to San Francisco in general, and in particular in the Bayview Hunters Point community. When major corporations relocate their corporate headquarters from one city to another, there is a new emphasis of corporate giving in the new hometown, and that usually comes at the expense of the former headquarters city. The 49ers have contributed millions to San Francisco non-profits such as Bayview Hunters Point YMCA and various schools in Bayview Hunters Point and other parts of The City. The 49ers have already announced plans to increase its charitable contributions to the city of Santa Clara once the team moves to Santa Clara
Amid all the talk of the 49ers groundbreaking, and efforts of the A’s, Warriors and Sacramento Kings looking for a new home, one team that has been left out of the relocation discussion has been the Oakland Raiders. Since the passing of Raiders owner Al Davis, the team has been silent on prospects for a new home. The Raiders will be playing in the league’s oldest stadium once the 49ers new stadium is built, and currently is the only NFL team playing in a stadium shared with a baseball team. The Raiders have no credible prospect for a new stadium on the table nor any realistic relocation options.Would the best option for a new Raiders home be a public-private funded domed multipurpose stadium on site of the Hunters Point shipyard development if the Raiders determine that a new stadium cannot be built in Oakland or the East Bay?