The recent uptick in big-name performers at Levi’s Stadium is bringing fans from across the country and an economic boost to cities in Santa Clara County.
Between singers Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran, the tally looks to be more than a $50 million economic impact. This comes as the city of Santa Clara grapples with a $27 million deficit and legal woes with the San Francisco 49ers over the stadium in recent years.
Swift brought more than $33.5 million, while Beyoncé and Sheeran are projected to rake in between $7 million to $10 million each.
Santa Clara City Councilmember Raj Chahal said the revenue from Levi’s events is not directly flowing into the general fund to close the deficit since some of the dollars go to financial agreements it has with the 49ers. Where the city does see a boost is through sales and hotel occupancy tax revenues.
“When we did not have activity at the stadium in the past, we were in really bad shape,” Chahal told San José Spotlight. “Since the concerts have started coming in it is adding economic activity to the whole area.”
Swift’s concerts also brought in about $8.9 million in personal earnings for workers. Dan Rascher, president of Sports Economics, LLC, who analyzes the business of sporting events and concerts, previously told San José Spotlight that about 60,000 fans crowded into the stadium for the July 28-29 shows. Traveling Swifties pumped $19 million into lodging, food and entertainment in the county.
But even the eleven-time Grammy winner doesn’t have the economic heft of a Super Bowl, which brought in $240 million when it was hosted at Levi’s Stadium in 2016. The mega event returns to Levi’s in 2026.
Longtime Santa Clara political consultant Rich Robinson said events like the Super Bowl and concerts with high-profile artists undoubtedly generate a huge influx of revenue into the local economy.
“There’s a multiplier effect,” Robinson told San José Spotlight. “All of the localities benefit from Levi’s Stadium being there and of course the city picks up its share of revenue from the event itself.”
Robinson said costly lawsuits between the 49ers and Santa Clara are largely to blame for the budget deficit.
“The deficit in Santa Clara is caused by incompetence,” Robinson told San José Spotlight. “In fact, the stadium has become a huge revenue center for the city.”
The city of Santa Clara, under the leadership of Mayor Lisa Gillmor, has had a contentious relationship with the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium.
Gillmor and her allies for years have waged a war with the 49ers, including legal fights over raising the team’s rent and financial oversight, revoking its right to manage stadium operations and enacting a curfew to tamper noise complaints from neighbors. The curfew requires the stadium to go dark by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The 49ers said the curfew cost millions of dollars in revenue and high-profile acts that opted out from performing at Levi’s. In a split vote, Santa Clara policymakers decided in late 2021 to allow five extensions to the weeknight curfew until 11 p.m. per year for non-NFL events.
Swift’s concert on both nights went past the stadium’s curfew, as did its subsequent fireworks show.
Beyoncé was granted a curfew extension by city council but she also went past the stadium’s allotted time.
Sheeran is set to perform at the stadium later this month and is on track to be one of the highest-attended events in Levi’s Stadium history, according to a spokesperson for the stadium. Sheeran previously planned to ditch Santa Clara entirely due to the curfew.
In neighboring San Jose, Mayor Matt Mahan said the concerts are a revenue boost for his city.
“San Jose is always ready and more than willing to welcome visitors from around the world,” Mahan told San José Spotlight. “And it’s a win-win — tourists get to experience the Capital of Silicon Valley, and our city gets a boost of funding.”
Contact Julia Forrest at [email protected] or follow @juliaforrest35 on Twitter.