Measure Would Include Sports Stadiums

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Maybe it's a matter of civic pride. Or maybe it's not wanting to be connected to the
Photo: AP
In recent years, the same San Francisco football stadium has been known as 'Candlestick Park,' '3Com Park' and 'The Park at Candlestick Point.'
next Enron Field. For whatever the reason, San Fransciso legislators are considering whether to bar the city from accepting money from corporate sponsors for publicly financed buildings.

Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, whose seat covers the Haight-Asbury district, has sponsored the legislation that would prevent the city by the Bay from accepting money from corporations that want to stick their name on taxpayer paid-for edifices such as the city's football stadium.

Much-named stadium
That venue, home to the the National Football League's San Francisco 49ers, was once known as Candlestick Park before its corporate name change to 3Com Park. When the company's contract ended, the city renamed it the Park at Candlestick Point. (The 49ers, meanwhile, have their own piece of legislation before the superviors on a deal for the team to obtain the name of the field.)

But not all buildings would fall under the jurisdiction of the proposed ordinance. Pacific Bell ballpark, home

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of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, was privately financed by the franchise.

Mr. Gonzalez, a member of the Green Party, said San Francisco was one of the first cities to sell naming rights for public buildings. He said that with the expiration of the 3Com deal, "it's an opportunity for the city that started this to roll it back." He also noted that corporate fiascos such as Enron "are making people have second thoughts."

Mr. Gonzalez had indicated he would be willing to put a measure on the ballot this November if the full board of supervisors fails to act on his measure.

Losing money?
Sam Singer, a spokesman for the 49ers, said Mr. Gonzalez's measure would not involve the team's deal involving the football stadium. But he said the measure could cost the revenue-short city millions of dollars in the long term.

"It might pose problems for future generations," he said.

But Mr. Gonzalez noted that the city made only about $900,000 under the five-year 3Com naming deal. "It's a pittance" of the city's $5 billion annual budget, he said.

He also stressed that his proposals would apply only to the sale of the names of public buildings, not to advertising within a stadium. The city currently generates about $1.3 million in revenue and those numbers are likely to go up.

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