When it comes to a new 49ers stadium, Jed York didn't throw an 80-yard touchdown last night. But he did move the chains, and that's something that hasn't been done in a loooong time regarding a new stadium. Late last night - actually, early this morning - the Santa Clara City council approved, 5-2, a term sheet for a new stadium and will pass it along to the voters for ultimate approval. A vote will be held this spring, either in March, April or June. The 49ers like their chances.
If you're looking for nuts and bolts financing information about the stadium, frankly the Metro sections of both the Mercury News and the Chronicle are where you want to go. The Merc's Mike Swift has been doing a particularly good job of covering the issues.
Here, however, are a couple of items I found particularly interesting from a just-wrapped-up conference call with York:
- In studying the stadium plan, the City of Santa Clara has looked at the possibility of adding a second tenant to the mix. York, however, said there have been no substantive conversations with the Raiders about adding them as a roommate, although he said the 49ers want to keep that option open. With no league-backed stadium loan program in place at the moment, the NFL has asked the teams to study that option. Adding the Raiders, of course, would lessen the 49ers' burden and increase the amount of revenue to the City of Santa Clara.
- As of now, the new stadium is planned to be built on the smaller of the two Great America parking lots. Here's a look at the design. That would place the east side of the stadium a mere 40 feet from the front door of the team's practice facility. The preferred site is the larger lot where the amusement park is located. York said discussions are ongoing with Cedar Fair, which operates Great America, and could lead to the team building on the larger lot.
- Fallback plan? The best one, York said, may be a refurbished Candlestick Park. The signature of the new stadium is the tower, what York calls the "suite stack," on one side. Instead of suites circling the stadium as they do in most facilities, the 49ers suites and most of the premium seats, would be located in the tower. York said one possibility regarding Candlestick is to tear away the east side of the stadium (that's the awkward side, the one that is not configured for football) and build the tower there.
- There hasn't been a Super Bowl in Northern California since Joe Montana outdueled Dan Marino in Palo Alto in January, 1985. But that will change if the new stadium is built in Santa Clara, York said. "We will definitely push this with the league and I'm certain there will be more than one Super Bowl played in the Bay Area," he said.
-- Matt Barrows