Jed York on the Santa Clara stadium and free agency


Here are selected quotes from Jed York’s Tuesday morning conference call.

He talked about his plan for financing the new stadium in Santa Clara, the possibility of the Raiders joining them in the project, and the 49ers free agency philosophy.

Does his timeline seem realistic? Does his free agency philosophy please you? These are a couple questions to keep in mind as you read.

Q: Could you explain the new stadium credit?

YORK: With this new labor deal, it’s a piece of the deal that will allow teams to finance stadiums but it’s not the only thing. As we look at the teams that are trying to get things done right now – Minnesota, us, there’s a potential additional carve out for Los Angeles. That’s just one more benefit to teams that are trying to build stadiums right now.

Could you walk us through how that stadium credit works?

YORK: The thing that you guys need to grasp is the 1.5% credit that’s there, that’s going to be enough for several new stadium projects, but the way that works, 50% of your private investments and 75% of your private investments in California – there’s a special carve-out for California teams – would be allocated to that 1.5% credit. So, when you’re looking at the 49ers where a significant amount of our investment in the new stadium is going to be from private funds, you would have a large percentage that would go towards that 1.5% credit.

Q: Would that put you in competition with the Raiders and the Chargers for their own stadium projects?

YORK: No. The way the numbers work, there are a lot of credits out there, so it’s not something that’s going to put us in competition with other clubs.

Q: Does it put you in competition with the Raiders or make that more of a priority to work with them on something?

YORK: It’s not going to put anybody in competition with each other. The way the credits work and how much credit would be available over the next several years, there’s more than enough to accommodate several new stadiums being built. So, that’s not going to be an issue.

Q: We’re used to the G3 loan being a nice, round figure – $150 million. Is this credit comparable to that figure?

YORK: The credit is only when it comes to what the salary cap will be. So that 1.5% credit comes off of what the salary cap will be. That doesn’t have anything to do with G3. The G3 program was a variant of the club-seat waiver program, where the league was borrowing an addition amount of debt to help clubs bridge the public-private partnerships to build a new stadium. So that’s the next step for the NFL, to look at is there a successor to the G3 program, and because this is such a new deal, with a ten-year labor deal it makes it so much easier to finance a building, it makes it so much easier to go out and talk to sponsors. You know that you’re going to have ten years of stability with the league. So it’s just going to make it that much easier to finance.

Q: Does this give you more confidence that the stadium will be built in Santa Clara?

YORK: Yes.

Q: Where are you with the Raiders? Is that front-burner in your mind?

YORK: Are you talking about sharing a building? (Yes.) The deal that we made with the city of Santa Clara, the deal that was voted on by the people of Santa Clara, the deal called for a two-team stadium. We’re open to that. What this does, having a new CBA, it lets you focus on building a new stadium, it makes it a lot easier to focus on actually playing football, so we can now put the legal stuff aside.

Q: Where are you with the Raiders?

YORK: We’ve discussed it but there’s no plan. There’s nothing in the works. It’s something we remain open to but it’s got to be the right deal for two teams and there’s nothing that anybody can force to make that happen.

Q: Do you expect a feeding frenzy when free agency begins?

YORK: Just by the nature of it. There are hundreds of players who are restricted or unrestricted free agents and there’s a very short window to be able to sign them.

Q: You’ve said you’re not going to be big players in free agency. This year having to get to a salary floor, won’t you have to spend money?

YORK: It doesn’t mean you have to spend money on players who are not on your roster currently.

Q: Are you saying that you’ll spend the money on your team’s own free agents?

YORK: I think that’s where we’ve always focused – making sure that we resign our own guys.

Q: Do you believe that with the talent on your roster you guys are close to getting where you want to get?

YORK: Yeah, I think we’re close. I think that’s one of the reasons Jim Harbaugh is our head coach.

Q: How close are you to securing naming rights for the stadium?

YORK: It’s a lot easier now that there’s a collective bargaining agreement that’s going to be for ten years. That gives anybody who would be spending or loaning money for a stadium the sense that this is going to be a long-term deal, there’s not going to be something that disrupts a deal or the regular flow of business.

Q: Did you get the sense that some possible suitors were waiting for the lockout to end before they actually started talking seriously about naming rights?

YORK: That’s very fair to say.

Q: What are the next steps for the stadium?

YORK: The stadium has been put on hold because of the labor situation. Now that the labor situation is resolved, we can turn our attention 100% to financing this building. It’s very hard to receive financing for a football stadium when you’re in the middle of a lockout. So now that that is resolved, no we’re going to turn our attention to working with the NFL, working with the banks that have been interested and have financed stadiums in the past.

Q: How do the Raiders join you in Santa Clara?

YORK: There’s been a provision in the lease and in the ballot measure that called out a second team. It’s been voted on, we’ve discussed this with the city, it’s part of the deal.

Q: How far along are you on the financing?

YORK: We are fairly close to a couple sponsorship deals.

Q: What has to happen for you guys to put a shovel in the start building the structure?

YORK: We have to go to banks, the open market, and obtain financing to build a football stadium.

Q: Is the original timeframe still in place?

YORK: Yes, completion in 2015, and you would look to start construction in 2013.

Q: When would you expect to have the financing in place?

YORK: Before 2013.

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