SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 14: A San Francisco 49ers helmet sits on the field prior to their game against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park on December 14, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
49ers team president and owner Jed York told the Sacramento Bee that the team is pushing back its due date on opening the stadium by a whole year. In a one-on-one interview with beat writer Matt Barrows, York said, "I think there's a chance that this stadium is delayed from '14 to a '15 opening."
That's good news for Great America parking lot enthusiasts, but not very good news for fans who have already put down a deposit for first-year season tickets at the new stadium.
"I think '15 is a more realistic date just looking at the way the union negotiations are going," York explained. "Obviously, if we get something done soon, we could hopefully pull the trigger and get going on a design development that could get us to where we need to be for a '14 opening."
By "get something done," Jed means "find someone to lend us the additional $150 million we still need." He does not sound optimistic about that.
"I just think we need to be realistic with where we are right now," Jed continued. "With everything where it sits today, I think it's going to be difficult to obtain financing for 2014 absent a labor deal."
Blame the NFL's expiring Collective Bargaining Agreement and the threat of a labor lockout for this delay. The NFL will be operating under a whole new different set of books once a new CBA is negotiated by players and owners, and the league will not make any additional stadium loans until they have a better idea what their future finances look like.
Jed is telling us that if there is an NFL work stoppage next season, the stadium will take even longer. The Yorks can't get their loan until this larger omnibus bill called the CBA gets done.
Getting the CBA done will require resolution of hot-button topics like the 18-game schedule, profit sharing, rookie salaries, and possibly a developmental league. These guys might be negotiating for a long, long time.
And Santa Clara doesn't get its new stadium until they figure all of this out.
The 49ers' lease at Candlestick Park runs through the 2013 season, and gives the team five-year lease options after that.
So starting looking at the fine print of that lease, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. If the Santa Clara stadium is not done by 2014, you could strong-arm the 49ers into taking a five-year option, keeping them in San Francisco through 2018.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks that playing within the San Francisco city limits is working out pretty well for one team.