Sports Outside the Beltway

The San Francisco Santa Clara 49ers

From AP-

SAN FRANCISCO – The 49ers have given up hope of building a state-of-the-art stadium in San Francisco and are considering a move to suburban Santa Clara.

Owner John York notified San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom of the team’s decision Wednesday, the mayor’s spokesman, Peter Ragone, told The Associated Press.

York planned to hold a news conference Thursday in Santa Clara to talk in detail about the decision. But in a news release announcing the decision issued late Wednesday night, York said the team will not change its name even if he decided to move.

“Nothing will persuade us to change the name of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the most storied brands in the world of sports,” he said.

According to the release, York made his decision after a yearlong study of the area around Candlestick Park determined that the area needed too many infrastructure and public transit improvements to make a new stadium viable.

The team said the cost of those improvements could have exceeded the entire bill for the proposed stadium, which was estimated to cost between $600 million and $800 million.

Also, the team said it was unlikely it could achieve its goal of opening the new stadium in time for the 2012 season.

Now the team is seeking to build a new stadium in Santa Clara, near the Great America amusement park and the Santa Clara Convention Center. The 49ers headquarters and training facility are currently based in Santa Clara, which is located about 30 miles south of San Francisco, near San Jose.

Many pro franchises don’t reside in the city that they are named for. The New York Jets and Giants left for the New Jersey Meadowlands years ago. The Miami Dolphins don’t play in the city of Miami either. There are many more examples.

The impact of the team’s move will be felt by the businesses closest to Candlestick. Then that’s the risk one takes if your business is heavily reliant on one factor. Candlestick was a mistake when it opened 46 years ago. I think its long past time for the 49ers to find a better home.

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