A crowd of people outside Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara during the 2016 Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is returning to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara in 2026. Photo courtesy of the 49ers.

A yearslong debate over whether the 49ers should be allowed a multimillion-dollar property tax break for Levi’s Stadium has come to a close.

Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone says he will not appeal a recent Superior Court ruling that upheld a decision to significantly reduce the tax burden associated with the stadium for the 49ers organization.

“We had to look at all the options,” Stone told San José Spotlight. “The lawyers’ fees around an appeal are significant. I was not willing to take that risk of ending up in the same place with the same result where we’d have to pay all the lawyers’ fees.”

The 49ers appealed the tax assessment Stone’s office made for the team’s interest in Levi’s Stadium in 2019, and a Santa Clara County Assessment Appeals Board made an administrative ruling to reduce the original assessment for the team by nearly half.

As a result, the team’s annual property tax bill dropped from about $12 million to roughly $6 million, pulling money back from local schools, the city of Santa Clara and the county.

Stone sued the assessment board over its decision, calling it arbitrary, because it was based on the team only playing football games for half of each year. He argued the board ignored significant revenues generated by the team’s association with the stadium when it hosted other major sporting events such as soccer matches, concerts and corporate conferences.

A Santa Clara County judge in November denied Stone’s challenge, finding the process the appeals board used to make its decision was appropriate.

“We accept the court’s ruling on this matter, which confirmed that the assessed value of the stadium was properly set by the independent Assessment Appeals Board in 2019, and are pleased the issue is finally resolved,” Ellie Caple, a spokesperson for the 49ers, told San José Spotlight.

Despite not filing an appeal, Stone said he stands by the work of his office and team.

“The stadium is a community asset and a business asset for the 49ers,” Stone said. “I believe that we made a correct assessment, I still believe that.”

Contact Joseph Geha at [email protected] or @josephgeha16 on Twitter.

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