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SB 49 from the proverbial horse's mouth

So, with all the uproar over Senate Bill 49 and its affect on the 49ers, I decided to email State Senator Carole Migden to get her opinion on the issue.  For those who don't know, Senator Migden represents District 03-San Francisco in the California State Senate.  After the information came out about the 49ers looking to move to Santa Clara, she introduced SB 49.  As the legislative counsel's digest describes it:

Existing law prohibits a local agency or redevelopment agency from providing any form of financial assistance to specified business entities when a business entity is relocating from the territorial jurisdiction of one local agency to another within the same market area, as specified.
This bill would prohibit a local agency or redevelopment agency from providing financial assistance to a sports stadium project that involves the relocation of a professional sports franchise from the territorial jurisdiction of one local agency to another within the same market area, as specified.

So this afternoon, I was checking my email and I had a response from the Senator.  In order to provide the full context, below is my initial email, followed by her reply email.

Niners Nation Email:

Madam Senator,

I've recently started a 49ers fan site at, where we are a member of the SB Nation network of sports blogs.  There has been quite a bit of discussion about SB 49 and its impact on the 49ers.  The team has had their PR people on the offensive rather quickly in an attempt to condemn the bill.  I realize there are 2 sides to every piece of legislation and so I've begun my own research on SB 49 (including taking time to read the bill itself) in order to properly inform my readers of both sides' arguments.  In considering that, I was wondering if you'd be interested in discussing the bill, including your own reasoning behind authoring the bill and what you hope it will accomplish?  While I love the 49ers, I'm not here to condemn you or anything of the sort.  Rather, I'd love to have the opportunity to provide my readers with BOTH sides of the argument in a clear and logical manner.

Hopefully this is something that would interest you.  While my site is a month old and my readership is growing, my site is part of a broader network that has over 100,000 unique visitors each day.  Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.


Senator Migden's Response

Dear ____,

Thank you for your recent email regarding SB 49.  The San Francisco 49ers are an important part of the fabric of this city, and I will do everything I can to keep the team here.

SB 49 would prohibit a local municipality from using tax breaks and land giveaways to raid a neighboring community's NFL team/stadium, as Santa Clara is attempting to do in this case.

AB 178 (Torlakson, 1999) and SB 114 (Torlakson, 2003) were designed to stop these types of bidding wars between cities and counties, by prohibiting local agencies from using financial incentives to relocate big box stores & auto dealerships from other cities in the same market area.

SB 49 builds upon current law by adding sports franchises to this code.  Every public dollar is precious, faced with big deficits local governments should be using these public funds for services and real economic development.  It is not in the state's interest to use tax dollars to relocate these developments without a substantive economic benefit to the market area.

SB 49 will help to keep the San Francisco 49ers in the city, as well as to systematically address the potential economic problems caused by these issues throughout the state.

Again, thank you for your correspondence. Should you have any further questions about this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact my office.


Carole Migden

Senator, 3rd District

I had some questions after reading her response so I emailed back.  This elicited a response from Hallie Tansey, Senator Migden's district representative.  Our 2 question Q&A is available in the extension of this post.  Simply click on READ MORE.  After reading through this, feel free to comment as you see fit.  The 49ers have had the primary opportunity to express themselves and I wanted to give the Senator her own opportunity.  Additionally, I still have questions so hopefully I'll be able to set up an in-person interview with her.  If so you can bet that interview will be posted.

NN: Why does the legislation only pertain to football stadiums? (the bill's glossary of terms specifically states sports franchise means NFL teams only and I specifically asked about other sports).

HT: National Football League (NFL) Stadiums are the largest and most expensive developments for all professional sports.  The average cost of the past five football stadiums built nationwide: $475 million, while estimates for the 49ers new stadium has been in the $600-$800 range.  Moreover NFL Stadiums have the lowest return in economic activity: an NFL team only averages 10 home games per year.  Meanwhile the average cost of the past five baseball stadiums built nationwide: $390 million, but a baseball team averages nearly 90 home games per year.

Also SB 49 is not including other sports, because Fremont is already in the middle of a development deal to move the A's (baseball) from Oakland.

NN: Would SB 49 push the 49ers out of the Bay Area?

HT: This is a highly unlikely scenario.  Los Angeles does not have a NFL football stadium and 2 franchises have left Los Angeles in the past 20 years for lack of a stadium and lagging revenue. There are no other major media markets in the US without a team.

Moreover, SB 49 requires San Francisco's consent if the 49ers relocate to a new stadium that involves public financial assistance.  Should the 49ers relocate despite San Francisco's best efforts to address the team's concerns, the 49ers would have to sit down with the City to discuss terms for moving from San Francisco.

This was done via email in a short time frame so I have not gotten back with more follow up questions.  As I mentioned earlier, I'm hoping to interview the Senator when she's available in her San Francisco office.  I simply wanted to get this up and posted as I feel it is important in the grand scheme of things for the 49ers future.  So hopefully there will be more to come in the near future...