In a move that seems aimed at securing success in the South Bay Area, the San Francisco 49ers officially named Gideon Yu President and Co-Owner on Friday after he served as 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 in a press release.
York actually tweeted the news eight days earlier 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."
York also said he 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 last 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."