The 49ers in SF? Give it up


Some folks just won't accept the reality that the 49ers are gone. It's over: The team is moving to Santa Clara. And you know what? It's not the end of the world.

There's not going to be a new billion-dollar football stadium in San Francisco, and for one very good reason: Nobody wants to pay for it. With all the financial problems facing this city, there's no way the taxpayers are going to cough up that kind of money. Mike Antonini's shadowy "investment company" doesn't seem likely to put up the money; that's not how stadiums are built. And the Niners owners, who could afford it, have made it clear they want public money to pay for their grand spanking new private castle.

When the Giants were talking about bulding a new stadium downtown, team representatives got the message loud and clear: San Francisco wasn't going to pay the tab. So the team raised the money itself, got the approvals and built a park that has brought a significant amount of new economic activity into the city. It's helps immensely that the Giants did something else -- they didn't try to build a parking lot. No public money, no parking -- and look what we got: A stadium people walk or bike or ride transit to -- and a thriving business district that lives off the money people spend drinking and eating before and after the games.

You don't get that at Candlestick. Everyone drives in, watches the game, and drives away. That's partially a football culture thing -- football fans tend to like tailgate parties. But businesses in the area don't get a whole lot of patronage from Niners fans (many of whom come from the Peninsula anyway).

So losing the team -- other than the indignity of somebody talking about the "Santa Clara 49ers" -- isn't such a big deal for San Francisco. It's too bad -- done right, in the right location, a privately funded football stadium with very limited parking could be a cool thing for this city. But that's not what the York family wants. So let the suckers in Santa Clara spend their money on it -- and deal with the traffic and the fact that nobody will stick around after the game for a beer or a burger in any local restaurant.

Besides: Anyone with any sense knows that baseball is better live and football is better on TV.