I scored a free tour of Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, a Bay Area professional football team. The stadium is brand new — the first home game is in a week and a half. Although the new stadium is located in Santa Clara, California, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the team remains the San Francisco 49ers.
From the main parking lot, the stadium is tall. The black scoreboard on the left is 180 feet high. The light color helps the stadium appear less massive. The large structure in the center holds the box seats and press box. Box seats command a premium price and provide luxury seating and a private space to wander and mingle.
Waiting at the gate for the tour to start, here’s my ticket and an ad for a Cal-Oregon football game in October. Although that game is an opportunity to see the new stadium on a game day, Cal is sure to be blown out by Oregon :(, so I don’t plan to attend.
As we entered the stadium, music was blasting so loud we couldn’t hear our guide — they were testing the sound system. Away games are played in other team’s stadiums, where the fans make so much noise that it disrupt the visiting team’s offense by drowning out verbal signals. Teams need to prepare for away games by using nonverbal signals and practicing with loud music. The playing area is grass, large enough for football and soccer (known as football outside the US). The two goal posts are at opposite ends of the field. Up to four banks of seats surround the playing field.
From the press box, you can see the field, scoreboards, and the stadium seating.
After visiting the press box, we walked to the green roof, where the 27,000 square feet of plants reduce heat and power required for air conditioning, while generating oxygen. Photo-voltaic panels on the left generate electricity. The green roof, photovoltaic panels, and other features qualify Levi’s Stadium for LEED Gold status. I forgot to ask if these are California native plants.
From the roof we descended to the field level. Here’s the visitor’s locker room, where the visiting team dresses and meets. It’s not bad, but the home team locker room has ceilings twice as high, and each player can see every other player at his locker.
From the field, you get a better appreciation for player’s view and the large number of box seats. The field is real grass, complete with the “Keep off the grass” sign and sprinklers.
For the top-level seat holders, there’s an exclusive club where food, wine, and beer are complimentary. The home team players and coaches enter the field through this club, so members get to see them up close. We didn’t ask how much those seats go for — if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.
The tour concluded at the gift shop, of course. The new stadium looks beautiful and first class, but it’s expensive, and the owners need to recoup their investment.