Levis’ Stadium is the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, but it is actually located in the city of Santa Clara, nearly 40 miles away. This makes the stadium the farthest away from a team’s actual home in the entire NFL. There was a solid attempt to build the new stadium on the site of the previous Candlestick Point, the location that has hosted all five of the 49ers previous Super Bowl victories, but negotiations with the city of San Francisco simply did not progress. Levis Stadium will be host the next Super Bowl on February 7th of next year, and it is currently in the middle of three-year deal to host the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.
The stadium itself is an open-air design with a natural grass field. The seating capacity for regular season games is set at 68,500, but it can be expanded to 75,000 for major sporting events, such as the Super Board and the FIFA World Cup (were America to be awarded the event). Hosting a Grateful Dead concert recently has already tested the seating, and 83,000 people attended. One unique feature of the stadium design is that nearly 2 out of every 3 fans is seated in the lower section of the stadium, which is one of the largest such arrangements in the entire NFL. There are also new design features that enable for better accessibility and seating options for spectators that might have special needs or disabilities. This is a significant improvement over Candlestick Park that had few options and had not undergone major renovations in decades. It is noted that Levis Stadium is similar in configuration to that of Ford Field in Detroit, in that most of the luxury suites are on one side of the field. This enables fans that in the upper deck to be closer to the action taking place on the field.
Graphic via bloguin
The stadium was designed to be a multi-use facility, so it can quickly be reconfigured to accommodate special events, such as concerts, motocross competitions, and other local and regional community events. Another unique feature is that is was purposefully designed to meet FIFA field requirements to host international soccer events in the future. This is forward thinking that should position the city to host major events in the future. The stadium was also built to modern principles of environmental sustainability, becoming one of the larges buildings in the United States to be officially registered with the U.S. Green Building Council. The roof of the stadium itself has both a green roof and solar panels to aid in power needs.
Fans that do not want to drive to Levis Stadium have the option of taking the VTA Light Rail direct to the venue. The nearest light rail station is named the Great America station, and is located just west of the stadium in the median of Tasman Drive. For those that are driving, the primary access to the stadium area comes via Tasman Drive. This street runs along the northern side of the venue and is a major east-west arterial road that actually connected to Interstate 880 about 3 miles to the east. From there, one has access to U.S. Route 101, California State Route 237, and Interstate 280.
As the newest stadium in the NFL, Levis Stadium is certainly modern and has nearly everything a football fan could ask for. The one major downside that has been noted is the fact that Santa Clara is noticeably warmer than San Francisco. This means that the East stands can warm up during an afternoon game early in the season, and many fans have complained. Beyond that, if you can get there, it is a great place to watch football.
Graphic via abc7news