It’s here; the San Francisco 49ers have announced the schedule for the inaugural 2014 National Football League season at the new $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium, inching Silicon Valley closer to confronting major remaining hurdles for stadium operations.
While the Santa Clara venue will officially open with a San Jose Earthquakes professional soccer game on Aug. 2, the Niners will take the field for preseason games beginning Aug. 17 and regular season play starting Sept. 14, according to a team statement. That gives the team and local public officials just a few more months to work through questions about short-term logistics and longer-term planning.
Scroll to the bottom of this article for the full game schedule, and click here for a new photo tour of the stadium.
A total of eight regular season 49ers games will be played at Levi’s stadium this year, with all but one date falling over the weekend — likely a reflection of concerns about intense weekday traffic congestion and a dearth of parking in the area. The stadium is located within a block of the Santa Clara Convention Center and situated near large offices for Citrix, Palo Alto Networks and Avaya, among other corporate tenants.
Game-day transportation and hotel availability in the area are other logistical concerns.
The team has pushed local fans to consider public transit options like the region’s notoriously unpopular light rail to maximize efficiency. Out-of-town fans will likely be able to find hotels over the weekend, but Santa Clara has seen weekday hotel occupancy and room rates jump in recent months.
Beyond concerns about traffic and parking, there is the broader issue of the return on investment for the city. Levi’s Stadium was initially financed with an $850 million loan from the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, which is made up of many city officials but is technically a separate entity.
Developers have already begun circling the stadium area for major new projects, but the question now for the city is how to convert that initial interest into new public revenue streams.
The venue has already been awarded the 2016 Super Bowl, and securing additional events like corporate functions, weddings and other sports events will be a primary strategic focus,the team’s executives have told me.
It’s also worth noting that the NFL’s flexible scheduling rules apply to games late in the season, which could shift game times on Sundays from the afternoon to the evening or vice versa.
Here’s the lineup for the inaugural 49ers season at Levi’s Stadium:
- Sunday, Aug. 17 at 1:00 p.m. – 49ers vs. Denver
- Sunday, Aug. 24 at 1:00 p.m. – 49ers vs. San Diego
- Sunday, Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m. – 49ers vs. Chicago
- Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1:25 p.m. – 49ers vs. Philadelphia
- Sunday, Oct. 5 at 1:25 p.m. – 49ers vs. Kansas City
- Sunday, Nov. 2 at 1:05 p.m. – 49ers vs. St. Louis
- Sunday, Nov. 23 at 5:30 p.m. – 49ers vs. Washington
- Thursday, Nov. 27 at 5:30 p.m. – 49ers vs. Seattle
- Saturday, Dec. 20 at 1:30 p.m. or 5:15 p.m. – 49ers vs. San Diego
- Sunday, Dec. 28 at 1:25 p.m. – 49ers vs. Arizona
(Edited by: Lynch, Van Susteren)