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.

Bay Area sports organizers are starting to plan for two major events coming to the South Bay in 2026, and officials in one Silicon Valley city want their fair share of tourist dollars.

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will host Super Bowl 60 and the World Cup in two years. At Tuesday night’s Santa Clara City Council meeting, councilmembers peppered city employees and the events’ planners with questions about how they will affect the city and engage the community.

“We want to make sure, as we are managing and planning these events, we don’t forget what’s going on, we have to operate a city,” Mayor Lisa Gillmor said. “We’re super excited about everything, but we still have a responsibility to our community.”

The Super Bowl and six World Cup matches happening at the stadium are being organized by the Bay Area Host Committee, a group that aims to bring high-profile events to the region. It’s also organizing NBA All-Star in 2025, which will occur at the Chase Center.

At the meeting, Bay Area Host Committee CEO and President Zaileen Janmohamed said the NFL will likely start planning for Super Bowl 60 next month. She added that the NFL will decide where it wants to host official events surrounding the Super Bowl, such as the NFL Honors, and that the committee will plan additional community engagement events.

“The most important thing is actually the community efforts,” Janmohamed said. “These events come and go, and if all we do is actually focus on the event itself, we fail. There is so much more that we can do with sport in our community.”

Councilmembers voiced concerns about the events’ potential effects on Santa Clara, both fiscally and in the city’s daily functions. Councilmember Suds Jain told San José Spotlight that while the host committee has ensured officials that Santa Clara will not lose money, he’s also concerned the city will not directly gain money either.

“I want money because we have a budget deficit and we have to hire more people and we need to provide more affordable housing and all that stuff,” Jain told San José Spotlight.

Levi’s Stadium has brought $2 billion into the local economy since it was built in 2014, according to a study commissioned by the San Francisco 49ers. While events hosted at the stadium generate millions in revenue for local businesses, Jain said the city has been unable to quantify the indirect revenue that comes from visiting tourists, and that the city does not get much direct revenue from events.

He also worries that city employees’ focus will be diverted to these two events rather than the city’s various other projects. Santa Clara has been working to shrink its budget deficit and a slate of infrastructure projects, including revitalizing its downtown.

Santa Clara has also been embroiled in multiple battles against the 49ers over Levi’s Stadium, mostly spearheaded by Gillmor and her allies. This has included fights over stadium management, the team’s rent, late-night noise curfews and financial management.

At a February council meeting, Gillmor questioned city employees about revenue from non-NFL events in the second fiscal quarter of 2023. At the meeting, employees showed that all five concerts from the quarter brought less than $1 million to the city on average, including Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran events. All three events poured money into the local economy, with Swift’s concert bringing in an estimated $33 million, according to sports economics analysts.

Councilmember Karen Hardy said the stadium  is not intended to directly generate revenue for the city. She wants to find ways to uplift local businesses during those two events, especially businesses located far from the stadium. One idea is to utilize the Santa Clara Convention Center across the street from the stadium for local businesses to sell their goods.

“I want this to be positive for everyone,” Hardy told San José Spotlight. “It’s going to be days of the world looking at us, so we want to make sure that we shine ourselves in the best light, and it comes off as a positive experience whether you’re going to the game or not.”

These events are a great opportunity for local businesses throughout the South Bay, according to Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce CEO Harbir Bhatia. She said it will bring worldwide attention to the region, and that these events will take a collective effort.

“The Bay Area definitely needs this,” Bhatia told San José Spotlight. “This is not only going to be just a one time benefit for us, but this hopefully raises enough attention to the rest of the world that there’s so much more here than only tech.”

Contact B. Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] or @SakuCannestra on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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