Santa Clara and 49ers Announce Lawsuit Settlement

The Santa Clara Stadium Authority and the San Francisco 49ers have reached an agreement they say resolves long-standing disputes over public safety expenses, and buffet costs for legacy seat license holders at Levi's Stadium, which is on city-owned land and is owned by the authority.

The stadium authority, a public entity, is governed by City of Santa Clara officials. The Santa Clara City Council will consider approving the settlement at its next meeting, Tuesday, May 28.

In a press release, the city said the settlement agreement “includes many benefits to the city and Stadium Authority.”

Mayor Lisa Gillmor disagreed, accusing City Manager Jovan Grogan of “deceiving the public,” and calling the agreement “a loan-shark-type deal,” in a post on X.

According to the city, the agreement:

  • Reduces the amount that the stadium authority owes the 49ers by $7.5 million (from $22.3 million to $14.8 million)
  • Pays $7.1 million in performance rent to the city
  • Amends various agreements resulting in new annual revenue to the city estimated at $2.8 million in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Based on agreements signed more than 10 years ago, the 49ers pay the city for public safety costs for NFL games and the stadium authority reimburses the 49ers for a portion of those costs.

“This deal reduces the authority’s reimbursement obligations by $108,000 per game and adds an additional $4 per ticket surcharge to non-NFL events to help offset the Stadium Authority’s commitment to fund a portion of NFL public safety,” said Grogan, who also is executive director of the stadium authority, in a statement.

“We believe the settlement agreement addresses key concerns and provides a fair and advantageous resolution for the stadium authority and Santa Clara residents,” said Grogan. “By settling this dispute and restructuring terms in the original agreements that helped bring the 49ers to Santa Clara, we were able to achieve both immediate and long-term financial benefits for the City of Santa Clara. As a result of the settlement agreement, we project that Santa Clara’s general fund will receive $20 million in total revenue from Levi's Stadium over the next two years.”

The settlement agreement is between the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, the City of Santa Clara and various entities related to the San Francisco 49ers’, the Forty Niners SC Stadium Company LLC and Forty Niners Stadium Management Company LLC.

View the full signed Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release.

On X, Gillmor said:

“Anyone saying this settlement agreement is good for Santa Clarans is deceiving the public.  The money the team claims the City gets requires repayment.  It’s a loan-shark type deal.”

Councilmember Kathy Watanabe also said on X she opposes the settlement:

“I oppose this agreement because it gives the 49ers a discount on public safety costs that hurts taxpayers and makes the stadium less safe!”

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. lie down with dogs, get fleas – shocker!

    don’t want to do business with rent seekers? then don’t do business with the NFL

    how many times do you have to hear about clueless “politicians” signing us up for decades of debt giving away the store to these racketeers?

  2. For those who don’t know their history or suffer from amnesia, it bears reminding that Gillmor promoted the stadium deal during a hiatus from the council by co-chairing the group “Santa Clarans for Economic Progress”.

    She claimed the city certainly would be remiss to not claim “all that money” that the stadium represented.

    She ignored the numerous and incessant warnings of residents who said it wasn’t good business practice to get into bed with a NFL team. Now she’s outraged…Gimme a break…

  3. Nice unanimous bashing. Too bad you know so little of the reality of the situation. Unfortunately, many don’t know because the media (this newspaper included) do not shine a light on the issues. The SF Chronicle is the only paper with the courage to print unbiased and factual information.

    Yes, Gillmor wanted the stadium to come to Santa Clara. Realize, she did not actually approve the language what was turned into measure J or the legal docs after. All was good until Jed decided to renege on his promise of replacing the youth soccer fields right next to the stadium. He just said, nope, his letter to the city was not a real contact and he didn’t have to honor it. And Mayor Mathews, the council majority, and City Manager Fuentes (remember him?) almost got away with allowing the 49ers to pay pennies on the dollar for the Youth Soccer Park.

    There was so much uproar from it, the backroom, private deal fell apart. And what happened after that? Well, Measure R was put forth to the residents of Santa Clara and passes with almost 90% to stop the transfer of parkland without a ⅔ vote of the residents. Now that’s action. That happened under Lisa Gillmor’s watch. As did transparency. And accountability. And this clown show of a council came to power in 2020 and gave the city away to the 49er organization. They signed settlement agreement like chumps. They fired the city attorney and the city manager while in the middle of about a dozen lawsuits.

    And Councilmember Becker is the biggest joke of them all. He is caught giving a confidential Grand Jury report to the 49er lobbyist and the local 49er friendly paper (SC Weekly). And then has the balls to talk about others giving it away and never once taking responsibility for his action…until the DA charged him with a misdemeanor and a felony perjury charge. And yet he continues to vote on 49er action and settlement agreements. What a joke.

    So, XBR976, if you want to be informed about the realities, look at this joke council and the now suspect City Attorney that doesn’t seem willing to call out government 1090 violations, voiding a contract and creating a leverage situation with the 49ers to come to the table in good faith. Who is the City Attorney supposed to protect? The council alliances? Or the City of Santa Clara? Why don’t you ask why the council allows Becker to continue to vote on 49er issues? Why don’t you ask the City Manager to fully explain all the benefits and concession made for this current settlement? Why don’t you ask for accountability?

  4. He is caught giving a confidential Grand Jury report to the 49er lobbyist and the local 49er friendly paper (SC Weekly).

    Well, maybe he’ll get sued sometime, but it’s not as if the document was kept secure or the offender prevented from moving the document or its contents, or stopped in the process of it, forcibly if need be.

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