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SAN FRANCISCO-The San Francisco 49ers were granted a partial victory this week, when supervisors voted to give the football team the right to sell advertising for Candlestick Park. However, the team was not granted naming rights for the stadium.

San Francisco sold the naming rights to 3Com Corp. in 1995 for 6 months for $500k. In 1996, the deal was extended, with the Silicon Valley company paying approximately $900,000 annually to the parks and recreation department. After 3Com Corp. announced that it would relinquish its naming rights, the city began a search for a new corporate sponsor willing to pay big bucks to have its name on the park, associated with the San Francisco 49ers.

However, a new naming rights proposal would have set up an equal split of the revenue between the city and the 49ers. Only one part of this proposal passed this week–advertising in the stadium–which is expected to bring in about $625,000 for the city and about $700,000 for park upkeep.

With this week’s vote, the team’s deal with the city’s Recreation and Park Department was canceled, which means that nearly a million dollars in annual revenue will be lost. The supervisors tied 5-5 on the naming rights vote. Proponents argued that the city-owned stadium is a business and should be used as one. Opponents argued that the private naming of public facilities is an unabashed form of corporate public relations, saying that all naming rights should be banned.

“It is not the role of San Francisco to prop up tarnished corporate identities, or to act as an agent of public relations firms,” wrote Supervisor Matt Gonzales in a proposed resolution to place a general ban on naming rights.

Supervisor Tony Halls says that a commitment to honoring the name given to the stadium at Candlestick point when it opened in 1960 would also send a message to people who would like to do business with San Francisco. “Not everything and everyone is for sale,” he adds. For many 49ers fans, who did not welcome the name change after 24 years of calling the stadium Candlestick Park, the resolution will be appreciated.

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