By Kiet Do

SANTA CLARA (KPIX) — On Tuesday, the Santa Clara city council, acting as the Levi’s Stadium authority, voted to terminate an agreement with the San Francisco 49ers which allows the team to manage the stadium for all concerts and entertainment events.

The council gave the team an ‘F’ for financial performance, paying fair market rent, fair wages and lack of transparency.

Now the team is firing back.

The 49ers have a filed a 14-page lawsuit (view PDF) known as “declaratory relief” which, essentially, asks a judge to determine the rights of each party in the dispute.

In a statement released Friday, the team said the mayor, city manager and city attorney misunderstand the management agreement and thus have caused public confusion.

The Niners say high-profile events like concerts and the Super Bowl have brought in $22 million in profits to the stadium authority and millions more in an economic boost to the local economy.


“The 49ers filed suit for declaratory relief in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The suit was necessitated by the public confusion caused by Mayor Gillmor, the City Attorney, and City Manager Santana’s complete misunderstanding of the Management Agreement. The 49ers Management Company has attracted the world’s highest-profile events to the Bay Area, including Super Bowl 50, the College Football Playoff National Championship, the NHL Outdoor Stadium Series, Wrestlemania, Copa America, numerous concerts from the world’s biggest artists like the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Coldplay, and Beyonce; more major events than any other new stadium in its first five years.
As managers of the stadium, the 49ers brought over $22 million in profits to the SCSA, with $10.6 million going directly to the City’s general fund and an additional $9 million for the Stadium Authority’s Discretionary Fund while attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in positive economic impact to the region and increased Santa Clara’s sales tax and tourism base. By attempting to end the management agreement under false and unlawful pretext thus creating misinformation in the marketplace, the City threatens to take away these economic opportunities. Already, declining revenue is a consequence of retaliatory restrictions like the Mayor’s Music Ban that has artists bypassing the Bay Area and leaving local businesses, vendors, and residents to suffer.”

Santa Clara mayor Lisa Gillmor responded to the lawsuit, saying: “We terminated the 49ers non-NFL events agreement because we discovered fraud and wage theft. They’ve also mismanaged a public facility. Net profits plunge from around $5 million to zero in two years and the city’s rules, like the weekday curfew, haven’t changed one bit since they opened the stadium in 2014.”

The team calls the 10 p.m. curfew the mayor’s music ban and the team says it is retaliatory and blames it for the stadium’s declining revenue.

Recently the Rolling Stones complained about the restrictions, saying they may not perform there again.