The truth can now be told: Jed York was so determined to win over one stubborn voter in his midst – a Dallas Cowboys fan living in Santa Clara – that he contacted people he knew in the Cowboys’ front office and asked them to personally call the Measure J holdout. Alas, when York returned to the man’s house, he wasn’t home.
York insinuated he’d been ready to enlist Jerry Jones himself if that’s what it took to get this one vote. And a day after the 49ers’ lopsided election victory, York is no less determined.
Just this afternoon, his media tour has included KNBR, a conference call with writers and other media, and – scheduled for 4 p.m. – an appearance on NFL Network’s “Total Access.”
York is still on the treadmill because he knows there are so many potential hurdles ahead, including the securing of loans, disagreements with the Cedar Fair Corp. and other neighbors, inadequate help from the NFL and further political battles with factions in Santa Clara.
York made one point very clear: He insists raising cash for a new 68,500-seat stadium will not interfere with putting a competitive team on the field.
“They’re two very separate pieces,” the 49ers president and CEO said on the phone. “Trying to win on the field and trying to build a stadium are not the same. I mean, it’s a different budget. We have a budget for what our player compensation is going to be, and I think we’ve shown that we want to make sure that we extend our younger players. We want to make sure we go out and add the right free agents to the mix. We’re gonna continue to do that. We are playing at Candlestick, and that hasn’t held us back from signing our own players and then going out into the free-agent market and bringing in guys we think can put us over the top and help us get into the Super Bowl.”
York did shed some light on the physical parameters of the stadium. He acknowledged that the 49ers originally focused on the smaller of two parking lots adjacent to Great America because of Cedar Fair’s concerns. Post-vote, both lots are in the mix, though he said the team might actually prefer the smaller lot because it’s closer to team headquarters.
York also emphasized the advantages of stacking suites in one high-end cliff face, rather than the traditional “equator” configuration. Soldier Field in Chicago and Ford Field in Detroit both employ this design. York said Lions officials told him they did it out of necessity, but wound up loving the concept.
“We’re able to drop our upper deck by 30 to 40 feet and bring it closer to the field, and that’s just the geometry of building a football stadium,” York said. “When you look at what are some of the amenities for the non-suite fans, you’ve got much bigger concourses where you don’t have to worry about walking … where you can’t get into a suite corridor. You’ve got open concourses, you’ve got open views and beer gardens and those types of things.
“But for the suite patrons, it’s a lot easier to get them food, get them service, because all of your suites are centralized in one area. … If all that is comprised in about one-third of your building, you’re able to get a much more sustainable building, but you’re also able to make sure that you service your patrons, so you don’t have to build two or three or four kitchens. You can build one kitchen and get food directly to those patrons.”
Did someone say beer gardens?
As for Personal Seat Licenses, count on them, but it may be a while before we know how much the 49ers plan to charge.
“We’re still working on that, and there’s a lot of different variations that we’re exploring right now,” York said. “So at this time we’re not releasing that information.”