The impending exodus of the 49ers to a new home in Santa Clara has been accepted as sad but true by many in San Francisco, including Mayor Ed Lee. But others are not going to let the Niners go so easily — at least not without a Hail Mary pitch to keep the team in town.
In his capacity as a longtime fan, Planning Commissioner Mike Antonini is trying to gather enough steam from investors to create basic architectural drawings and revive the idea of a new stadium near Candlestick Park in Hunters Point.
Antonini envisions a 70,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof and a full view of the city skyline. The site has long been discussed as part of the massive redevelopment of Hunters Point, where homebuilder Lennar has made a commitment to put $100 million toward the construction of a new stadium.
Despite being the most outspoken public official on the matter, Antonini said he isn’t alone in wanting to retain the storied franchise in its namesake city.
“A lot of people feel this way,” Antonini said. “The City is really, in spirit, the owner of the team.”
Antonini said he has been talking about next moves with HKS Architects, the firm responsible for new stadiums in Dallas and Indianapolis. He said local advocates need to come up with about $900,000 to get basic stadium drawings together and create a rallying point for their desire to keep the team in San Francisco.
Earlier this week, potential investors met to discuss the preliminary plans, Antonini said, adding that a new stadium also would present opportunities for nonfootball events, which could end up being the stadium’s biggest moneymaker.
“We need to be ready when the Santa Clara option fails,” he said.
Although a loan has been secured by Santa Clara to cover the bulk of the new $1 billion stadium there, a grass-roots group is fighting to stop the project in its tracks. The consortium known as Santa Clara Plays Fair is trying to gather 6,000 signatures by Thursday for a ballot referendum of Measure J, an initiative approved by voters in 2010 to pave the way for Santa Clara to pursue the new facility.
Asked why he wasn’t doing more to keep the 49ers in San Francisco, Lee said he respects the wishes of owner Jed York to move his team 50 miles south.
“I think there have been genuine efforts made to persuade Mr. York to change his mind,” Lee said. “He has been pretty adamant about moving forward on Santa Clara.”
Much has changed since the 49ers’ last playoff appearance in January 2003 — not only are the players and coaching staff new, but the economy has tanked, leaving thousands without jobs or the money necessary for once-in-a-lifetime outings.
Fans will have to make quite an investment to see their team play Saturday and possibly beyond.
StubHub, an online ticket resale marketplace, said the 49ers-New Orleans Saints matchup is the second-most-searched game, behind the Denver Broncos-New England Patriots. Over the course of the week, Niners ticket prices have steadily risen by at least 10 percent. Those still available start at $157 and increase to 10 times that, depending on where you want to sit.
But tickets aren’t the only item that will cost you if you plan to attend the game — there also are tolls, parking and food.
Here’s a comparison of the cost of events for a family of four.
49ers-Saints playoff game
Tickets: Starting at $157 each, up to $1,500
Bridge tolls: $5
Concessions: Hot dogs, $7; draft beer, $8
Giants-Dodgers midseason game
Tickets: $24 for bleacher seats
Concessions: $6.75 for hot dog, peanuts, soda; draft beer, $8
Bridge tolls: $5
California Academy of Sciences
Tickets: $29.95 for adults; $24.95 for children ages 12-17; $19.95 for children ages 2-11
Parking: $4 an hour on weekends, up to $28; $3.50 an hour on weekdays
Concessions: Lunch entrees at Academy Cafe, $15-$19
— Andrea Koskey
Although Candlestick Park is tucked away in the remote southeastern confines of San Francisco, the stadium will be the central focus of attention Saturday for the 49ers’ playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. Luckily for the 70,000 or so fans expected to attend the game, there will be plenty of ways to get to Candlestick, with attendees able to take their pick between public transit, driving and shuttle bus options.
Details: Lot opens four hours before game time. Vehicles that arrive within two hours of game time will be directed to a specific spot.
Cost: $25 to $35
Details: Picks up passengers in 10 locations across Northern California, including two sites in San Francisco.
Cost: $12 ($8 with monthly pass)
75X: Travels between the Balboa Park station and Candlestick
77X: Departs from Van Ness Avenue
78X: Picks up passengers along 19th Avenue corridor
79X: Leaves from Montgomery Street station
T-Third Street light rail
Details: Drops passengers off at Gilman/Paul station, where they can take a shuttle bus
Cost: Varies depending on starting point. Round-trip travel within San Francisco is $3.50.
Details: Passengers can transfer to Muni’s Candlestick express buses from Montgomery Street and Balboa Park stations.
Cost: Varies depending on starting points.
Details: Passengers get dropped off at Bayshore station. No direct shuttle bus to game, but Candlestick Park is about a 15-minute walk.