The field of jeans
February 12, 2014
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
After 43 years at Candlestick Park, the San Francisco 49ers will start the 2014 season in their new home, Levi’s Stadium, in Santa Clara. The opening of the stadium will start a new chapter for the 49ers franchise, which has brought mixed emotions from season ticket holders.
Many Paly students and families are ticket holders, and the new stadium has opened up a new topic of discussion around the 49ers. The new location and the increase in ticket pricing are among the many changes that have fans angry or excited for the first season of football in the new Santa Clara stadium.
Levi’s stadium has a total seating capacity of 68,500 people, which is 1,400 seats less than Candlestick Park. However, the reduced number of seats has nothing to do with the actual size of the stadium, which has a square footage of 1,850,000 square feet compared to the 985,000 square feet of Candlestick.
A main focus for the construction of the new stadium is making the fan experience more enjoyable. The new stadium will feature open pedestrian plazas, commercial community space, a 49ers team store and a 49ers Hall of Fame.
“The fans will be greatly surprised by how much better the overall fan experience will be: wider concourses, many more places to access food and restrooms, new food choices and great seating site lines,” 49ers Project Executive Jack Hill wrote in an email to The Viking. “
These new luxuries, however, come with a steep price for fans. Season ticket holders now have to buy a Stadium Builder License (SBL), which is a one-time cost that helps finance the building and maintenance of the stadium, before being able to purchase season tickets to the new stadium. The cost of a SBL alone ranges from $270 to $1,630 depending on the location of the seat.
Many fans have decided to reduce the number of season tickets they buy or stop being season ticket holders altogether due to the price of an SBL and the already expensive price of season tickets.
“If [the tickets] hadn’t been quite as expensive we would have bought the same number of tickets as before, but because they are we have three instead of five,” Maya Benatar (‘16) said.
The price raise, however, does not seem unreasonable for some fans. With the new improvements of the stadium and compared to the prices of other teams tickets, many think the new cost is reasonable.
“The prices for all professional sporting teams have gone up significantly and the 49ers prices up until this point have actually been relatively low,” Paly parent and season ticket holder Ron Valencia said.
The 49ers project executive also agrees that the new stadium is worth the amount of money the fans have to pay for admission.
“I believe the seat pricing is appropriate and in line with other comparable, new stadiums,” Hill wrote. “Our goal is to make the fan experience a quality experience regardless of how the team plays.”
The pricing of the tickets is not the only reason that fans are upset about the seating in the new stadium. Fans will now be seated next to new people, away from the other ticket holders they have grown to know over the years of sitting next to each other.
“We were friends with the people we sat next to at Candlestick for a very long time, which was nice,” Benatar said. “If we ever needed an extra ticket and they weren’t going, we would get it, and vice versa.”
In addition, some fans have opted out of season tickets because of a longer drive to the stadium, while others are happy to have the new location closer to their house.
“I probably would have bought [season tickets] anyway, but I certainly like the new stadium being about 10 minutes from my house,” Valencia said.
Other fans who are disappointed with the new location are not only concerned about it being farther away, but also with it being in a different city. Many argue that the 49ers will no longer be “San Francisco’s team” due to the new stadium location being in Santa Clara.
“I think Candlestick will always be their real stadium,” Benatar said. “They are a great team no matter where they play, but it makes a difference to play in the city you represent.”
Even with all the changes, 49ers season ticket holders, who will continue buying tickets for the new stadium, are excited for the seasons to come in Levi’s Stadium.
“My grandpa has been taking my dad to the games since he was really little, so it’s just a family tradition,” Benatar said. “We hope that we will have the stadium for a long time and future generations can continue to use the seats.”
The new stadium is set to open before the start of the 2014 football season. Although it was initially thought that the stadium would not be able to hold weeknight games because of limited parking and traffic with the location being in the middle of Silicon Valley, new parking locations have been added so that weeknight games will continue to be possible at the 49ers home stadium.