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If the 49ers fought as hard on the field as the cities who want to host their stadium fought politically, they they might have a winning season.
Just hours after Santa Clara voters approved the ballot measure to build a new stadium, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom threw a flag on the field, saying its not over 'til the groundbreaking ceremony.
"The vote in Santa Clara is truly only the first step down a very long road towards building a stadium there," Newsom said in a statement. Adding, "The stadium plan is built on shaky economic ground, and a significant math problem and financing gaps remain."
Newsom chalks up the Santa Clara victory to the $4.1 million dollars the 49ers owners spent to persuade voters on TV, radio and through mailers.
Santa Clara voters said yes to a 68,500-seat football stadium next to the Great America theme park. When they did, voters also agreed to a 2-percent hotel tax for eight of the hotels in the vicinity of the proposed site. The hotel tax is expected to generate $35 million toward the $937 million stadium. The 49ers and the National Football League have to raise $493 million, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority will raise $330 million and the redevelopment agency is to kick in $42 million.
Proponents say that in the long run, Santa Clara will give to get, and that the investment will turn into thousands of jobs for local workers and millions of dollars for schools and for Santa Clara's general fund.
Opponents argued that rather than stimulating the economy, the stadium would sap $67 million from the city's general fund, because money that would otherwise go into the general fund would be diverted to the stadium.
They also had concerns about the stadium's impact on traffic, parking and noise from cheering fans.
If the Santa Clara stadium deal goes south before the proposed 2012 groundbreaking and the 2014 kickoff, that will be San Francisco's chance for a Hail Mary.
"When the Santa Clara plan falls apart, San Francisco stands ready to welcome its 49ers home," Newsom said. "We will continue to work with our fans, community leaders, Carmen Policy and the NFL to keep that option open. But we will not wait forever, and our redevelopment plans at Hunters Point are moving full steam ahead with or without them. The San Francisco 49ers belong in San Francisco, and there’s no better opportunity for a first-class fan experience, beautiful bayside setting and world-class stadium than what we can offer right now at Hunters Point."
Though if the 49ers truly do belong in San Francisco, ticket sales do not reflect that. After six decades in the City, the majority of fans who pay to go to games live outside San Francisco.