Yu gets ownership stake; new stadium by '14?

Yu gets ownership stake; new stadium by '14?

Gideon Yu has been successfully working behind the scenes on the 49ers' new stadium project, and now he has an ownership stake in the team with impending news that stadium could be finished and ready for the 2014 season.


In a move that seems aimed at securing success in the South Bay Area, the 49ers have officially named Yu president and co-owner after he served as the team's chief strategy officer since last April.

Yu, the chief financial officer for both Facebook and YouTube before joining the 49ers, is credited as a key in the team securing an $850 million construction loan for a new stadium, reported to be the largest loan of its type in professional sports.

Yu is also credited for helping the 49ers get a $200 million financing package from the NFL to help build a new stadium.

"Gideon brings us a truly unique set of experiences and talents, and he will be a guiding force in our drive to continue the winning tradition of this franchise," 49ers CEO Jed York said.

York actually tweeted the news during Super Bowl week from Indianapolis, where NFL owners apparently approved the new ownership.

"Congrats to Gideon Yu, the newest co-owner of the 49ers. Glad to have you as my partner," York tweeted Feb. 2.

NFL sources say that Yu purchased one percent of the team for $8.5 million and that he has an option to buy up to five percent over a period of time.

A spokesman for the 49ers would neither confirm nor deny the percentage of ownership or buy-in details.

It also has been reported that Boston Celtics limited partner Mark Wan was buying a one percent interest in the 49ers, but that has not yet been announced.

If reports are accurate that Yu bought one percent for $8.5 million, that places the value of the 49ers franchise at $850 million, which just happens to be the same amount of the construction loan Yu helped secure.

In a conference call last week, York seemed eager to get the 49ers' new stadium built in the Santa Clara location near the team's current facility.

"Ground-breaking will begin soon," York said. "We're doing a lot of site make-ready work now. But now it's the construction, making sure we get shovels in the ground and start building."

York was asked when he expects the stadium to be ready.

"2015 is definite and we are hopeful if things go well we will have a '14 opening."

In a recent development, Santa Clara officials are expected to approve a construction contract for the 49ers' new stadium that calls on the facility to open at the earlier targeted date of 2014.

City officials are scheduled to vote on the $878 million building contract this week.

It requires construction to begin by July 1 and the stadium to be completed in time to open at the end of August in 2014.

The contractor, Turner-Devcon, would be fined $6 million for each 49ers game missed after that deadline, plus daily fines that could hit $20 million, according to the newspaper. The penalties could cause the contractor to lose money on the project.

If Turner-Devcon completes the stadium in time for the 2014 preseason, it would earn a $5 million bonus.

"We're going to be playing football here in 2014," Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews said. "I have no doubt whatsoever."

The 49ers and Santa Clara had previously aimed to start construction in January 2013 and open the field for the 2015 season, but the NFL awarded $200 million for the project last week. That was the last piece of funding needed for construction to begin after the team and city officials secured $850 million in bank loans in December.

Under the contract being considered, Turner-Devcon would earn 4 percent of the total contract award, or about $35 million.

Its fee was the lowest offer the 49ers received.

Turner-Devcon is a partnership of two firms – New York City-based Turner Construction, which has worked on NFL stadium projects for the Green Bay Packers and other teams, and Milpitas-based Devcon Construction.

York also said he recently saw Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis last week, but they did not discuss the possibility of the Raiders sharing the South Bay facility. But the possibility still remains.

York was asked point blank if the $200 million from the NFL included any contingencies regarding sharing the stadium with the Raiders.

"There are no strings attached, but obviously the deal that was approved by the city of Santa Clara, the term-sheet that we have with the City of Santa Clara, allows for this to be a two-team building. That has not changed.

"We have not had any meaningful conversations with another team about that, but have had high-level conversations with the Raiders just to let them understand what this project looks like."

But when he worked out with Davis in Indianapolis near the end of Super Bowl week, York said they did not discuss the stadium.

"We worked out together at the J.W. Marriot before the meeting, had lunch together. ... It was a very casual conversation, just lamenting the fact that we aren't playing in the game (the Super Bowl) more than anything else."

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