Santa Clara voters made it loud and clear Tuesday that they're ready to welcome the NFL.
Voters approved Measure J, paving the way for construction of a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara.
Measure J lead both early on and late into the night. The split was 60 Yes and 40 No with about half the votes in. Opponents of the measure all but conceded in the 11 p.m. newscasts.
Team owners spent big money to get the measure passed. They plunked down $4.1 million on TV, radio ads and mailers. That beat the No on J group by an astonishing 500-to-1 margin.
A win means the city of Santa Clara can move ahead with plans to construct a $937 million venue next to California's Great America theme park. The new stadium would seat 68,000 and comes with a darn-near promise of a Bay Area Super Bowl.
Opponents from the group Santa Clara Plays Fair point out that not only are the 49ers massively outspending them, but also that only .02 percent of the pro-stadium campaign contributions came from actual Santa Clara residents. The other 99.08 percent, of course, came from a certain Mr. Jed York. Opponents say that is a recipe for fiscal disaster.
People in San Francisco hate the idea, although the numbers show that most of the fans who buy tickets do so from outside city limits. The City has been home to the team for six decades, winning five Super Bowls.
Among the stadium supporters are most elected officials in Santa Clara. They say the measure is big win for the city of Santa Clara.
"It's really about what the benefits are directly to the City of Santa Clara," Mayor Patricia Mahan recently told KQED's Forum. "In terms of guaranteed ground rent, in terms of increased sales tax, hotel tax, all of those things that are going to be an economic stimulus to our community."
If the stadium loses the vote, all bets are off when it come to the future of the 49ers. The team talks like they have a Plan B, but you'd be hard pressed to get to talk about it out loud.
If the team wins, it hopes to break ground on the new state-of-the-art stadium is 2012 with the first kick-off in 2014.