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NEW OPENING


FIELD OF JEANS


The opening of the Levi’s Stadium this August is being heralded as the dawn of a new era for stadium design. The venue, the new home of the famed San Francisco 49ers, has been described as the most technologically advanced building in sports


TOM WALKER l


The franchise, one of the most successful in the history of the National Football League (NFL), first tabled plans to build a new stadium back in 1996. Despite the city of San Francisco supporting the plans and offering a US$100m (US$75m, £60m) grant to help build the new venue in 1997, the project, however, ran into trouble due to changes in the team’s ownership and differences of view over the way the project should be handled. The plans then spent a decade in a state


W


of flux, until San Francisco major Gavin Newsom launched a bid, in early 2006, to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to the city – rekindling the plans for a new flagship stadium. The new proposals, announced in late 2006, were based on the construction of a new stadium at the site of the 49ers’ current home, the 69,700-capacity Candlestick Park. Another disagreement – this time over the use of space (the 49ers weren’t happy with a planned housing estate as part of the deal) – saw the plans


62 Sports Management Handbook 2014-2015


hen the San Francisco 49ers move to their new stadium later this year, it will mark the end of a long journey.


MANAGING EDITOR l SPORTS MANAGEMENT Stadium stats


Designer/architect: HNTB Project manager: Hathaway Consulting Structural engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates Opening date: August 2014 Cost to build: US$1.2bn Total footprint: 176,515sq m (1.9 million sq ft) Capacity: 68,500 (standard, can be expanded to 75,000) Total sq ft of scoreboards: 13,600 Retail points of sale: 370 Restroom fixtures: 1,135


stall again. To avoid another long delay and to ensure the team would finally be able to move out of its ageing Candlestick Park, the 49ers’ owners – the York family, led by CEO Jed York – made a radical decision; to tear up all existing plans and explore relocation to Santa Clara, a city 40 miles away from San Francisco. While the 49ers migrating from San Francisco – removing the need for a large-scale stadium – ended the city’s Olympic ambitions and angered state officials, the city council in Santa Clara pounced on the opportunity to bring a big-name sports franchise into town. Negotiations over potential locations begun in 2008 and a final approval was given in June 2010. Construction work began later that year – 13 years after the first plans for a new stadium were tabled.


KEEPING IT GREEN Designed by architects HNTB, the 68,500-capacity Santa Clara stadium will be an open stadium with a natural grass field. It will feature landscaped pedestrian plazas, commercial community space, a 49ers superstore and a Hall of Fame and museum dedicated to the history of the


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