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Levi's Stadium

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Levi's Stadium
Location 4900 Marie P DeBartolo Way
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Broke ground April 19, 2012
Opened August 2014 (estimated)[1]
Owner Santa Clara Stadium Authority
Operator Santa Clara Stadium Authority
Surface Grass
Construction cost $1.27 billion (est)[2]
Architect HNTB
General Contractor Turner/Devcon JV[3]
Tenants San Francisco Forty Niners (NFL) (2014–beyond)
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (NCAA) (2014-beyond)
Capacity 68,058

Levi's Stadium refers to a stadium under construction in Santa Clara, California that should be completed in time for the 2014 NFL season.

On June 8, 2010, voters in Santa Clara, a suburban city just northwest of San Jose, voted to adopt Measure J, which allows the City of Santa Clara to lease land, currently occupied by the Great America theme park's overflow parking lot, to the 49ers Stadium Authority in order to construct a new 68,500-seat football stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers will be the primary tenant. The necessary funds were secured on December 13, 2011, allowing construction to start sometime within the next year.[1]

The 49ers initially presented a plan on July 18, 2006, to construct a new 68,500-seat, open-air stadium to be built in time for the 2014 NFL Season at Candlestick Point in San Francisco. Originally, part of the area surrounding the current 49ers venue, Candlestick Park, was to be zoned for retail space and housing; the new 49ers stadium was to be combined with such elements, bringing much-needed attractions to the historically blighted neighborhood of Hunters Point.[4] Currently, after failed attempts by the 49ers and the city of San Francisco to come to an agreement on the location of the new stadium, the 49ers have focused their attention on the Santa Clara stadium site, where the 49ers' administrative offices and training facility have been located since 1987.

There were also discussions for the Oakland Raiders to possibly share the stadium with the 49ers.[5] But the ability of the Niners to sell out the stadium on their own made those discussions moot.

Santa Clara stadium design proposalEdit

When the stadium plans were still set in San Francisco, the new 68,500 seat stadium was to be built at Candlestick Point on land just southeast of Candlestick Park. The cost of the stadium would be $916 million. Lennar Corporation would build housing, retail, and office space around the stadium area.[6] The stadium would be stocked with 150 luxury suites, 7,500 premium club seats, and an increased amount of seats lower and closer to the field, called "bowl seating," potentially raising the 49ers franchise value up as much as $250 million and offering at least $300 million in advertising and concession deals, the majority of which from paid corporate naming.[7] The architectural design would be reminiscent of San Francisco buildings and offer a view of the San Francisco skyline to the north.

Levi's Stadium was designed by HNTB, an internationally renowned architecture firm focused on creating a multi-purpose stadium, with the fan experience and green technology as top priorities. Civil design was designed by the non-minority firm Winzler & Kelly, recently bought by GHD.

Basic stadium featuresEdit

Levi's Stadium will be an open stadium with a natural grass field. It will have a seating capacity of 68,058, expandable to approximately 75,000 to host major events like the Super Bowl and the FIFA World Cup. The seating design of the stadium puts approximately one-half of the fans in the lower bowl. It will be one of the largest lower bowls in the entire NFL. The design features significantly improved accessibility and seating options for fans with special needs and disabilities when compared to Candlestick Park.

Multi-use facility: The stadium can be configured for special touring events including concerts, motocross events, and other community events. The stadium is also designed to meet the FIFA field geometry requirements for international soccer, which will allow it to host international friendly matches and major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup. The stadium will also feature over 109,000 square feet of flexible premium meeting space in the club areas.[8]

Environmental sustainabilityEdit

The stadium is currently one of the largest buildings registered with the US Green Building Council; it is also believed to be the first stadium that will have both a green roof and solar panels. The 49ers are exploring collaborative opportunities with the Environmental Protection Agency to explore environmentally friendly components including:[8]

  • Use of an outside commissioning agent to verify that energy‐related systems are installed, calibrated and performing in compliance with the project requirements;
  • Utilization of public transit nearby, including VTA, ACE, and Amtrak;
  • Construction of a green roof (27,000± sf), and photovoltaic panels (20,000± sf);
  • Use of paving materials , and roofing materials with a high solar reflectance index;
  • Use of recycled water for landscape irrigation, toilets and urinals along with water‐conserving fixtures;
  • No use of CFC‐based refrigerants in the HVAC systems. Systems will instead use refrigerants that minimize compounds that contribute to ozone depletion;
  • Installation of permanent monitoring systems that provide feedback on ventilation system performance;
  • Diversion, recycling and/or salvaging 75% of non‐hazardous construction waste; and
  • Use of controllable and programmable lighting control systems and thermal comfort control systems.

Previous plansEdit

The San Francisco 49ers have played at Candlestick Park since 1971. The stadium is a sentimental fan favorite and has housed all 5 Super Bowl Championship teams. It is, however, the oldest unrenovated stadium in the NFL, and is showing its age. The 49ers have been pursuing a new stadium since 1997, when a plan for a stadium and a mall at Candlestick Point passed a public vote. When the plans failed to move forward, the San Francisco 49ers presented an alternative plan on July 18, 2006, to construct a new 68,500-seat, open air stadium as part of a mixed use development featuring housing, commercial and retail space. In November 2006 the team announced that plans for a new stadium at Candlestick Point was not feasible, “citing extensive costs for infrastructure, parking accommodations and other changes that would cost more than the stadium itself”.[9] The 49ers are now focused on making Santa Clara the home to their new stadium.

The 1997 planEdit

San Francisco voters in 1997 approved $100 million in city spending to build a new stadium and an attached shopping mall at Candlestick Point. However, even after voter approval to grant economic help for the project, the stadium was not constructed as the project failed to get off the ground. Mills Corporation, the company tapped by the 49ers, was unable to put together a plan to successfully construct a new stadium for the team.[6] NFL owners had gone as far as awarding the new stadium the rights to host Super Bowl XXXVII. When the stadium plans stalled, the game went to Qualcomm Stadium instead.

For years, the city and team ownership were embattled over attempts to gain funding and a green-light for construction of a new stadium. None of these attempts proved to be successful.

The 2006 planEdit

The city of San Francisco received a new incentive to get a new stadium built. then-Mayor Gavin Newsom wanted to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to the city, and a new stadium would sweeten the city's proposal for selection by the United States Olympic Committee as the official US submission to the IOC. The announcement came in November 2006, with the new 49ers stadium as the centerpiece of an Olympics bid, and the construction of the Olympic village would be converted into low-income housing after the games were over.[10]

The project planning did not get off to a good start, however, with contention between the 49ers and the city of San Francisco over viable locations for the new stadium. Initially, the idea was to build a stadium in the parking lot of Candlestick Park and later demolish the aging stadium. Team ownership feared that construction of the village and the stadium would severely limit the amount of land available in Candlestick Point, creating a parking problem for fans and increasing traffic along the only two-lane road that links the stadium to the freeway. Moreover, with residents in the low-income housing by 2016, traffic would be increased indefinitely, further damaging the already-limited methods of transportation to the park.[11]

With San Francisco slow to come up with better locations for the stadium or ways to circumvent the problems posed by a construction at Candlestick Point, team owners Denise DeBartolo York and John York announced on November 9, 2006, that the 49ers were shifting its efforts to create a new stadium to the city of Santa Clara, approximately 40 miles south of San Francisco (and existing home to the team offices and training facility).

The sudden removal of the planned stadium forced the San Francisco Olympics bid group to cancel its proposal,[12] which engendered great anger not only from Mayor Newsom, but also from such 49ers legends as Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott who were part of the effort to bring the Olympics to the Bay Area. In addition, many fans were outraged at the suggestion to move the 49ers out of the city that it had shared history with for decades. The Yorks insisted that the legacy of the franchise would be respected in the sense that the 49ers would not be renamed nor moved out of the Bay Area. This was met with much opposition from Mayor Newsom and Senator Dianne Feinstein (who was mayor of San Francisco between 1978 and 1988); the senator stated that the team should be unable to use the San Francisco name if its operations were not based in the city.[13] On January 3, 2007, California State Senator Carole Migden introduced a bill, entitled SB49, that would bar the 49ers from building a new stadium within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco, if they were to leave the city. The 49ers organization announced its strong opposition to the legislation and retorted that passing such a bill would only encourage the team to move out of the Bay Area altogether.[14] But Migden's bill died a quiet death in the legislature, and Migden was later defeated in a bid for re-election.

Santa Clara city council negotiationsEdit

The Santa Clara stadium project has been in the works since 2007 with negotiations beginning in 2008. Two years have produced the following documents that were key to understanding the stadium deal that went before the voters of Santa Clara on June 8, 2010. All documents cited below are publicly available on the City of Santa Clara’s website.

  • Term Sheet: Detailed agreement between the city of Santa Clara and the San Francisco 49ers about the financing, construction, operation, and eventual demolition of the stadium. Key points include: no new or increased city taxes or costs to residents; 49ers responsible for construction and operation cost overruns; and the city will continue to own the land and receive rent payments back to its general fund from the stadium.[15]
  • 49ers Stadium Proposal: A PowerPoint presentation given to the City of Santa Clara April 24, 2007.[16]
  • Study: Economic and Fiscal Impacts of a New State-of-the-Art Stadium in Santa Clara4: This is a study conducted by Conventions Sports and Leisure (CSL). It highlights estimates of a new stadium’s economic and fiscal impact on the City of Santa Clara and the region including the creation of new jobs and new economic activity.[17]
  • Environmental Impact Report: This document is part of the state-mandated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. It researches in depth all possible environmental impacts the stadium may have.[18]

Most city council members in Santa Clara were extremely receptive to the possibility of a new stadium being constructed there for the 49ers. In 2009, the Santa Clara City Council and city employees began negotiating in earnest with the team, who presented the city with stadium plans. On June 2, 2009, by a 5 to 2 vote, the Santa Clara city council agreed to preliminary terms (as detailed in a term sheet[19]). Team officials have said that the team's name will not change; the team will continue to be called the San Francisco 49ers even when the move to Santa Clara is complete.[20][21]

The campaignEdit

Santa Clara stadium campaignEdit

The Santa Clara stadium plan currently calls for the new stadium to be located on a city-owned parking lot on Tasman Drive, located adjacent, to the north of the Great America theme park and leased to Great America for overflow parking. In December 2009, the owner of the theme park filed a lawsuit to stop the project from proceeding.[22] After negotiations with the Niners and the city, the lawsuit was withdrawn.

On December 15, 2009 the Santa Clara City Council voted 5 to 2 to withdraw their city-sponsored ballot measure[23] on the stadium issue in favor of a ballot initiative from a 49ers-backed[24] group. The ballot initiative was voted on on June 8, 2010 and passed election.[25] The ballot measure was designated Measure J.[26] Santa Clara City Council members William Kennedy and Jamie McLeod had opposed the stadium project and worked (unsuccessfully) to get Measure J defeated.[27]

Measure J: June 8, 2010Edit

Measure J is a binding, voter-initiated measure that was put on the June 8, 2010 ballot with signatures from over 15% of Santa Clara registered voters. All documents cited below are publicly available on the City of Santa Clara’s official website.

  • Ballot Question: This is the question that was presented to voters:[28]
    • Shall the City of Santa Clara adopt Ordinance 17.20 leasing City property for a professional football stadium and other events; no use of City General or Enterprise funds for construction; no new taxes for residents for stadium; Redevelopment Agency funds capped for construction; private party pays all construction cost overruns; no City/Agency obligation for stadium operating/maintenance; private party payment of projected fair market rent; and additional funds for senior/youth/library/recreation to City’s General Fund?
  • Voter Ordinance: This city ordinance becomes law if Santa Clara voters approve Measure J.[29]

Measure J was approved by the voters; the 49ers and City of Santa Clara then needed to raise $937 million for the stadium, construction of which is scheduled to begin in 2012. If construction proceeds on time, the stadium is scheduled to be ready in 2015.

Stadium proponents and opponentsEdit

  • Vote Yes on J or Santa Clarans for Economic Progress was formed and paid for by the San Francisco 49ers (York owners). It was portrayed as a coalition made up of local residents, business owners, retirees, homeowners, civic leaders, elected officials and native Santa Clarans working to bring a new stadium to Santa Clara.
  • Santa Clara Plays Fair is a volunteer organization leading the opposition to the proposed stadium project.

Election resultsEdit

Template:Referendum Election results via the Santa Clara County Website.


In December 2011, the Santa Clara City Council voted for an agreement that calls for the city’s Stadium Authority to borrow $850,000,000 from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and U.S. Bank. This will cover most of the construction costs, with the remainder to be made up via funding from the NFL, a hotel tax and city redevelopment funds. Construction is expected to begin soon after funding for the stadium has been confirmed. Interest, fees and terms for this loan have not been disclosed.[30][31] The $850,000,000 building loan, plus interest and fees will be assumed by the City's Stadium Authority, where additional interest and fees will be applied.

On February 2, 2012, NFL owners approved a loan to the Forty Niners of $200,000,000, for use in constructing the new stadium, and to be taken from a new G-4 stadium loan fund.[32] Terms of the loan were not specified, but under the previous G-3 plan, money was repaid directly into the league's account from the borrowing team's share of gate receipts from road games.

Oakland RaidersEdit

There was a possibility that the 49ers Bay Area rivals, the Oakland Raiders, might share the stadium. This would have been due to cost reasons, as the teams would split the costs of the stadium.[5] The 49ers[5] and Raiders[33] have publicly said it would be an option if possible, while NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was in favor of the two sharing a stadium.[34] Along with the New York metropolitan area (where both the New York Giants and New York Jets shared Giants Stadium from 1984–2009 and currently share its successor, MetLife Stadium, which both teams financed), the Bay Area is one of two NFL markets with two teams. But after the Niners were able to sell out the stadium on their own, the talks were not continued.


On April 4, 2012, the Niners announced that the groundbreaking ceremony would be held on April 19, 2012, between 5 and 6:30 p.m.[35] The public was not be allowed to attend, as pre-construction work and some earth moving had already commenced at the site.

In December of 2012, there was a ceremony for the "topping out" of the stadium structure, at 186 feet above the field level. Two steel beams, painted gold and covered with the signatures of the workers and various team members, were placed atop the suite tower, on the west side of the stadium. One beam also had an American flag attached, while the other had a small Christmas tree.

Prior to the Niners' appearance in Super Bowl XLVII, it was announced that over $600 million in seat licenses had been sold for the new stadium. In June of 2013, team president Gideon Wu announced that the team had sold more than $800 million in suites, club seats and reserved seats.

Naming Rights DealEdit

On May 8, 2013, it was announced that clothing manufacturer Levi Strauss & Co. had agreed to purchase the naming rights for the stadium. The deal pays an average of about $11 million per year for 20 years, totaling $220.3 million. There is also an option for an additional five years for $75 million, so the total paid over the next 25 years could be $295.3 million. The stadium will be known as Levi's Stadium.

Super Bowl LEdit

At a meeting of the NFL owners on May 21, 2013 in Boston, the owners voted to award Super Bowl L to the Forty Niners and Levi's Stadium, to be played in February of 2016. The Niners were in competition with the south Florida region and the Miami Dolphins. There was only one vote required, which meant the bid of the Forty Niners received at least 75% of the votes.


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. Rosenberg, Mike. "Santa Clara, 49ers Announce Deal to Pay for Stadium", December 3, 2011. Retrieved on December 3, 2011. 
  3. Young, Eric. "Niners’ New Stadium Construction to Begin Spring 2012", October 7, 2011. Retrieved on December 3, 2011. 
  4. "SAN FRANCISCO / New neighborhood in Hunters Point is near ready to build / First 1,500 homes at old shipyard called 'Hilltop Community'", The San Francisco Chronicle, 2006-11-10. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 NFL May Bribe Raiders, 49ers Into Shotgun Wedding
  6. 6.0 6.1 Selna, Robert. "First look at 49ers' stadium plan", San Francisco Chronicle, 2006-07-18. Retrieved on 2007-01-01. 
  7. Deluxe Stadium May Enrich 49ers. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved on 2007-01-01.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Yes on J. "Stadium Design", Santa Clara Stadium Facts, 2010-04-20. Retrieved on 2010-04-20. 
  9. 49ers to leave Candlestick, turn focus to Santa Clara. ESPN. Retrieved on 2010-04-20.
  10. Newsom's Olympic vision sees new 49ers stadium. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2007-01-01.
  11. Letter to 49ers Faithful. San Francisco 49ers. Retrieved on 2007-01-01.
  12. Crumpacker, John. "'Shocked' S.F. group drops bid for 2016 Olympics", San Francisco Chronicle, 2006-11-14. Retrieved on 2007-01-14. 
  13. Sen. Feinstein May Write 49ers Stadium Bill. CBS Broadcasting, Inc.. Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved on 2007-01-01.
  14. Letter to 49ers Faithful - 49ers, Senator Alquist Announce Opposition to SB 49. San Francisco 49ers. Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
  15. 49ers Santa Clara Stadium Term Sheet. City of Santa Clara. Retrieved on 2010-04-20.
  16. 49ers Stadium Proposal. City of Santa Clara. Retrieved on 2010-04-20.
  17. Economic and Fiscal Impacts of a New State-of-the-Art Stadium in Santa Clara. City of Santa Clara. Retrieved on 2010-04-20.
  18. Environmental Impact Report. City of Santa Clara. Retrieved on 2010-04-20.
  22. Lawsuit could stall 49ers' Santa Clara stadium Dec 9, 2009; San Francisco Chronicle
  26. Howard Mintz. "Santa Clara: 49er stadium proposal named Measure J", San Jose Mercury News, 2010-03-19. Retrieved on 2010-04-01. 
  27. Howard Mintz. "49ers stadium campaign is David vs. Goliath affair", San Jose Mercury News, 2010-04-01. Retrieved on 2010-04-01. 
  28. Measure J Ballot Question. City of Santa Clara. Retrieved on 2010-04-20.
  29. Measure J Voter Ordinance. City of Santa Clara. Retrieved on 2010-04-20.
  30. "49ers, Santa Clara secure funding for new stadium". 
  31. Template error: argument title is required. 
  32. Howard Mintz. "NFL owners approve $200 million loan for 49ers stadium", San Jose Mercury News, 2012-02-03. Retrieved on 2012-02-09. 
  33. Davis Doesn't Deny That Raiders Could Share Stadium With 49ers
  34. Roger Goodell talks of stadium issues
  35. Purdy: 49ers stadium groundbreaking set for April 19 in Santa Clara

External linksEdit

Websites in oppositionEdit

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