San Francisco is a world-class city, and as a lifetime resident and now a member of the Board of Supervisors, I want our city to have incredible sports teams of every stripe. Our sports franchises and facilities are not only economic generators, they are an irreplaceable source of pride for our community and our city. I am a firm believer that we can’t rest on our laurels and expect San Francisco’s relationships with our sports teams to materialize on their own – it takes hard work and vision.
Warriors Announce Move to San Francisco
I’m thrilled that after months of negotiations, the Golden State Warriors announced on May 22 that they are moving to San Francisco. The plans unveiled include a 100 percent privately financed arena located at Piers 30–32, between the Ferry Building and AT&T Park along our iconic waterfront. If approved, the new arena will be a state-of-the-art venue for the Warriors as well as a concert and convention hall that will attract the best performing and cultural artists.
I had the opportunity to have dinner with the Warrior’s new ownership team a few months ago, and came away excited about not only their incredible vision, but more important their strong desire to move back to San Francisco. Their May 22 announcement was a big step in turning that dream into reality. As Giants’ fans already know, the waterfront provides an incredibly beautiful, vibrant and easily accessible location for visitors from all over the Bay Area. AT&T Park was the first privately financed ballpark in Major League Baseball since 1962, and we have another golden opportunity to replicate that deal with the Warriors.
As Warriors co-executive chair Peter Gruber stated at a press conference, “Winning is a shared endeavor – it is a team endeavor.” In addition to the creation of thousands of new jobs for San Franciscans, the proposed arena could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic growth and activity for our city – not to mention a source of pride and community that sports teams generate. I will keep you all posted as details of this exciting endeavor unfold.
The San Francisco 49ers
When I came to City Hall in January 2011, one of the first issues I focused on was the city’s relationship with the 49ers. As a long-time season ticket holder and die-hard fan, I started to work behind the scenes to repair our city’s damaged relationship with 49ers owner Jed York (a former Marina resident) and other team officials. After working with Mayor Lee and Mr. York in 2011, considering every scenario possible to keep the 49ers’ stadium in San Francisco, the hard truth became clear – the decision to leave for Santa Clara was made years ago and there were no options that would keep them in town.
At that point, my focus turned to protecting our city financially and preserving our relationship with the 49ers franchise. We engaged in months of negotiations, which resulted in a deal that I announced on May 8 along with Mayor Lee. The terms include giving the 49ers an option to get out of their current lease at Candlestick a year early (after the 2013 season) in case the stadium construction in Santa Clara is completed early.
In exchange, San Fran- cisco received a number of things: $1 million for the Recreation and Park Department budget (whether or not the option is exercised); if the option is exercised, the Recreation and Park Department will be “made whole” on any anticipated revenues that they would have received during the 2014 season; current Candlestick concession employees will be offered jobs at the new stadium in Santa Clara; and most significantly, we are going to partner with the 49ers as the lead city in a joint bid to host a Super Bowl. While the game would actually be played in Santa Clara, related events and activities in San Francisco would bring hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity to our city. It’s a great win, and it’s the right thing to do for the future of San Francisco.
Though not everyone is a sports fan, I am a huge believer that sports franchises are an incredibly important element in any major city. For San Francisco, the 49ers and Giants have been staples of our community – and our identity – for decades. Not only do they bring in significant revenue, they create a vibrancy that cannot be duplicated, and an enthusiasm for our city that cannot be matched. I always think about the heartbeat of San Francisco during the Giants’ World Series run in 2010, and how incredible it was for San Franciscans to rally around a common goal and celebrate a
You have my commitment to play an integral role in a vision for San Francisco’s future that includes world-class sports franchises in our city. I believe it’s an integral part of who we are.
Mark Farrell can be reached at 415-554-7752 or [email protected]