Candlestick Park brings in cash during twilight years 

The City is finally milking Candlestick Park for major events beyond the traditional 49ers games, but time is running out.

Public markets, soccer exhibitions, fireworks shows — anything but football — netted the Recreation and Park Department $190,000 in additional revenue last fiscal year.

Tonight, for example, is the El Mexicano soccer exhibition, which has sold about 45,000 tickets. Real Madrid, which features three players from Spain’s World Cup-winning team, takes on Club America. It’s the first time in 10 years El Mexicano has used Candlestick.

“Basically, there were a couple things that drew us to it: capacity and availability,” event manager Tim Luce said. “We wanted to try to have as much capacity as possible for ticket sales.”

And when century-old Piers 30-32 were no longer stable enough for KFOG’s annual KaBoom fireworks show and concert, which attracts about 20,000 people, Rec and Park swooped in and offered the Candlestick parking lot for $20,000.

“Muni was the one challenge, but we had put in place shuttles from the BART and the train station, so it worked out,” KFOG spokeswoman Sheri Nelson said. “But it all worked out really well.”

The profits come as Rec and Park has had to cut $12.4 million from its $33.4 million general-fund budget and park officials have struggled with balancing the stadium’s books.

Financial reports show Rec and Park gains about $5.5 million in revenue annually from the San Francisco 49ers, but it spends about $4.1 million maintaining the stadium, netting about $1.4 million. The 49ers play 10 games per year at Candlestick.

The 49ers’ lease with The City is up at the end of the 2012 season. And whether they move to a $937 million stadium in Santa Clara for the 2014 season or stay in The City, the old Candlestick Park will be demolished under a major redevelopment plan.

There are no plans for a new stadium if the 49ers do leave. If they stay despite implications otherwise, master developer Lennar Corp. has offered $100 million from redevelopment funds to help build a new stadium, with a lease of only $1 a year.

Candlestick tab

$5.5 million Revenue from 49ers games

$4.1 million Expenditures

Rent for other uses

$80,000 Standard rent for athletic event*

$40,000 Standard rent for concert*

* Includes revenue from parking and concessions

Source: Recreation and Park Department

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Kamala Kelkar

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