Sports and sports venues mean different things to different people. But in San Francisco, Candlestick Park has generated millions of dollars each year for the city’s recreation and parks department. When the team leaves, the department will face a massive hole in its budget.

The clock counting down the 49er departure will begin this week as the new stadium in Santa Clara will break ground. With the expected 2014 opening, that leaves the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department just two years to figure out ways to plug the net loss of more than $3.5 million. That’s how much Candlestick and the 49ers netted the city last year.

Complicating the situation are the cuts being asked for by Mayor Ed Lee. The mayor has asked the department trim $3.3 million from its budget for next year, and make preparations to take another $795,000 out of the following year.

The footprint of the current Candlestick Park is expected to become as many as 6,000 homes as well as open space and office buildings.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

When the 49ers leave the city they’ve called home for nearly seven decades, fans won’t be the only ones missing them.
The football team’s departure for the South Bay means it will cease to be a huge economic driver in San Francisco, where it has generated millions of dollars annually for the parks, tourism industry and general tax base. And it will leave Candlestick Park to be demolished.

Read the full article here.