Proposition C - Candlestick Park Naming Rights

Voter Guide
November 1, 2009
This measure appeared on the November 2009 San Francisco ballot.

 

What it does

Proposition C is an initiative ordinance that would amend the city ordinance created by Proposition H from the November 2004 ballot which limited commercial names on the Candlestick Park stadium to five corporate names previously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

This measure will allow the San Francisco 49ers football team, which plays its games at Candlestick under a lease from the City, to seek additional corporations that may be interested in a multiyear naming rights agreement. Though the team’s lease on the stadium expires in May 2013 and a ballot measure for a new stadium was approved in 1997, it seems unlikely a replacement stadium can be occupied before the 2014 or 2015 football season. This four to six year period should be attractive enough to find a sponsor. This measure will have no impact on when the new stadium is built.

The existing 49ers lease requires that the City and the team share stadium revenues. The measure requires that the City appropriate at least half of its net revenue from a new naming agreement for rehiring recreation center directors. A number of these directors have been laid off with the City budget shortfalls. The balance of the revenue from a new agreement will likely go toward maintenance of the stadium.

Why it is on the ballot

This measure was placed on the ballot by the vote of six members of the Board of Supervisors. Proposition C must go to the ballot because it reverses a measure previously passed by the ballot.

Pros

  • Corporate names on publicly owned stadiums and arenas are common. Bay Area examples are the San Jose arena and Oakland stadium complex.
  • Candlestick is an aging facility with much deferred maintenance. The extended occupancy by the 49ers was not anticipated after voters approved the ballot measure authorizing a new facility in 1997.
  • Recent reductions in contributions to the Recreation and Park Department budget from the City’s General Fund have resulted in numerous layoffs. New stadium name revenues may result in rehiring some of these positions.
  • The use of any name would require the approval of the Recreation and Park Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

Cons

  • Corporate names on public buildings are inappropriate when the City shares in the upkeep costs of the facilities.
  • The revenue the City could gain from any agreement is insignificant.
  • The name “Candlestick Park” has historic significance, and should remain to retain an important part of San Francisco’s cultural heritage.

SPUR's analysis

A stadium naming sponsorship would financially benefit both the City and the 49ers. Even in better economic times, the Recreation and Park Department is underfunded. Any new revenue that does not come from the General Fund will help the department deliver services and maintain the stadium.

SPUR recommends a “Yes” vote on Proposition C.