The Bay Area is finally getting a modern football stadium, with the 49ers’ stadium in Santa Clara opening for the 2014 season, and the NFL has recognized that by awarding the 2016 Super Bowl to the Bay Area, with events planned throughout the area, many of them in San Francisco, during Super Bowl week.
This Super Bowl will be much different than the last one, in January 1985 at Stanford Stadium. The 49ers thoroughly enjoyed that, with a 38-16 thumping of the Miami Dolphins, but there were many others disappointed by it. Among them were some 49ers season ticket holders, who learned that the NFL has a relatively small allocation of tickets to the host city. The stadium was already more than 60 years old and it had nothing but bench seats; no boxes for the owners. The city of Palo Alto had to pay for extra police on game day, but few fans stayed there that week.
The NFL has wanted to return to the area, but not to Stanford, thank you, and not to Candlestick Park, either, because it is outdated. When Carmen Policy and Eddie DeBartolo tried for a new stadium on the current site, then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue came to San Francisco and promised that at least one Super Bowl would be played there. But Eddie was soon out of the league because of his marginal contact with a New Orleans gambling scandal and Policy left to become a minority owner of the Cleveland Browns. The stadium was never built, and John York got no support from The City when he talked of building there.
Now, though, largely because of the efforts by 49ers CEO Jed York, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will be state of the art in every way. There still won’t be enough tickets for 49ers season ticket holders, but all of the other problems have been addressed. Ever since he got all the financing to be certain the stadium would be built, Jed has been working hard at getting this game.
And it’s possible that the 49ers will be one of the teams in the game. With a solid front office and coaching staff, the team is built for long-term success, and it’s already been to the most recent Super Bowl, though they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Super Bowl means much more economically to the host city or area, then the World Series and NBA finals. Those events are played in the home cities of the participants, so most of those at the games are from the host cities. Since relatively few tickets are available to those living in the city/area where the Super Bowl is played, a high percentage of those in attendance come from other areas, so they spend for hotels, restaurants and events.
Even for San Francisco, which does a booming tourist business, this is a big thing because it comes at a relatively slack time for tourists. So, the San Francisco convention bureau was happy to help push for the game, knowing that many of the big spenders will stay in San Francisco.
And, whoever they are and wherever they sit, they won’t be on wooden benches this time.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.