As the crowd roared, hugged, shouted, cried and exalted the 49ers’ win on Saturday night, I marveled at Levi’s Stadium and the euphoria created inside. Sunday will be just as boisterous as the Niners play for the NFC Championship against the Lions. Despite Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Santa Clara politicians should thank their lucky stars for the windfall coming their way.
Levi’s Stadium generated more than $53 million in extra tax revenue for Santa Clara in 2022. Levi’s Stadium has provided $2 billion in economic activity over the last 10 years. Given the Taylor Swift, Beyoncé concerts and a Super Bowl run by the Niners, this year’s revenue should be the biggest ever. People from all over the nation come to attend these events, filling restaurants and hotels.
Yet, critics such as Mayor Gillmor continue to lie, complain and sought to take over stadium operations. The only thing that ruins good deals is greed, and Gillmor and her NIMBY allies have done their best to tank opportunities and reduce revenue at the venue. That hurts the city.
This is not the first time. When Gillmor lost her first attempt at mayor, she was embroiled in false allegations against the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. A 1994 Mercury News editorial called her attacks “looney.”
It’s not surprising that big events cause traffic and rock and roll bands are noisy. But the inconvenience to the few surrounding the stadium is a sacrifice for the greater good of the entire community. Santa Clara has lost revenue, prestige and credibility by not allowing more acts at the venue due to idiotic restrictions.
Santa Clara even sought fines from Taylor Swift for using fireworks in her show. Were they unaware of Swift’s stage performances? Do the 49ers not use pyrotechnics after every game? When fans use illegal fireworks in the parking lot, not a peep out of the mayor.
But when the person of the year comes to town, serves as honorary mayor for a day, gives food to the local food bank and creates $33 million in revenue she’s hit with a fine for using fireworks? Unbelievably poor judgement on Santa Clara’s part.
Next year Santa Clara will have a part of the World Cup. In 2026, Levi’s Stadium will host another Super Bowl. Super Bowl 50 in 2016 brought in a $350 million economic boost to the Bay Area and boosted Santa Clara city coffers by $740,000 in extra revenue.
Yet the fiscal stewardship of Gillmor and friends squandered money on administration and ill-advised lawsuits found itself in a financial squeeze. But a year-end report found the 2022-23 budget had a surplus of $36 million. Thank you San Francisco 49ers, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.
But Taylor, have you paid your fine for using fireworks?
San José Spotlight columnist Rich Robinson is a political consultant, attorney and author of “The Shadow Candidate.”