Ongoing construction brings potential benefits
THE SANTA CLARA
January 23, 2014
San Francisco players, fans and management can begin focusing on the 2014-2015 season having lost in a dramatic fashion to the Seattle Seahawks last weekend in the National Football Championship game.
The 49ers will have to say goodbye to San Francisco’s 53-year-old Candlestick Park and say hello to the brand new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
On Jan. 15, 49ers CEO Jed York came to the university to speak about how the Santa Clara community stands to benefit from the relocation.
Santa Clara, often obscured in the shadow of bigger, more recognizable cities in the greater Bay Area, is sure to see a bump in national notoriety with the addition of a major professional sports team.
The economic value of hosting the 49ers has improved and will continue to improve the city as a whole. The change creates thousands of stadium-related jobs and brings a new mass of football-hungry fans to local businesses.
York took an all-encompassing approach to outlining the benefits the 49ers can bring to Santa Clara.
“I really strongly believe that sports teams do more to cross barriers, erase boundaries and bring a region together than almost anything else”
“I really strongly believe that sports teams do more to cross barriers, erase boundaries and bring a region together than almost anything else,” said York. “Those are things that make the community a better place.”
Santa Clara students also have a lot to gain from the 49ers’ move. York estimates that there will be 10 to 15 major events per year, such as soccer games, concerts and countless smaller events.
Additionally, Levi’s Stadium’s location gives students easier access to 49ers’ games, which occur during the fall and winter quarters, opening the door for die-hard football fans, casual observers and student groups.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Roshan Rama, a freshman economics major. “The fact that it’s within the city and that it’s a new stadium just makes me more excited about the team and the prospect of going to a game.”
One possible impediment to student attendance could be ticket prices, which have been a point of heavy debate between the 49ers’ management and their fanbase. York dismissed the notion that high ticket costs are an issue that needs to be immediately addressed, mentioning that the conversion rate of ticket sales from Candlestick to Levi’s is essentially the same (between 80 and 90 percent) as it was during previous years in Candlestick.
“There might be folks that were upset about prices, but it certainly didn’t show up in terms of who is going to the new stadium,” York said.
Ticket prices could pose as an even greater hurdle for penny-pinching college students hoping to attend games. Nevertheless, Rama doesn’t see it as a deal-breaker.
“It does concern me,” he said, “but it definitely wouldn’t stop me from going to a game here or there.”
The 49ers’ change of location could potentially bring a mutually beneficial partnership with the university. Men’s basketball coach Kerry Keating hopes for a potential “co-promotional” relationship with the basketball program and the 49ers.
“We have to be able to parlay that visibility that the Niners are going to bring to Santa Clara into some sort of ability to get people to come to our games too, ” said Keating. “I would hope that we would try and incentivize people to go to both events for both teams.”
“I won’t put too much pressure on Father (Michael Engh, S.J.), but it would be nice to have a football team,” said York.
While the prospect could excite students, faculty and alumni alike, a reinstatement of the Santa Clara football team doesn’t appear feasible in the near future.
Contact Collin Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org