Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers new $1.2 billion football facility is not getting off to a great start. It’s barely open, and already, two people have died, one a worker last December and during the construction phase of the project, and the other a fan who attended the first NFL game played there, the preseason game against the Denver Broncos, last Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders, and particularly Mark Davis, should take care not to let envy get the best of them in watching Levi’s Stadium as it is used. Not only is the grass not always greener in a new stadium, but the Levi’s Stadium’s experience should cause The Raiders to consider the positive aspects of the Oakland Coliseum, and work to retain them, even as a new facility is planned for.
Southern Bay Area Location Brings Warmer Weather
I recall attending the Niners / Lions regular season game in 2010 with a friend, who’s two-decades long season tickets seats were in the north-east corner of Candlestick Park. Now, the Sunday October game featured 70 degree weather, but by the time we sat down, our area was a good 90 degrees, and it got hotter. It was too much for me, so I retired to watch much of the contest from the stadium club. I couldn’t imagine a hotter experience, but it looks like Levi’s Stadium provides just that.
A fan passed away at the Niners / Broncos game, and from just the heat problem I had at The Stick, only turned up. See, moving the stadium more toward the South Bay brings with it warmer temperatures; the stadium planners should have considered that it might be too hot and provided a true measure of escape: perhaps standing / viewing areas.
But it’s clear that such wasn’t installed in the original plan; if the 49ers are to avoid any more events like the fan death on Sunday, they’re going to have to build such a place into a new seating plan. According to reports, some places in the stadium became too crowded with fans coming inside to beat the heat.
Long Lines To Leave Too
There were numerous social media reports of long lines of patrons waiting to leave Levi Stadium, not to mention the crowded and long Cal Train rides back to San Francisco. It reads like 49ers fans will miss The Stick, and someone, somewhere, will wonder why a new stadium wasn’t created right where Candlestick stands.
And somewhere in California, former San Francisco Mayor and current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom will be smiling.
Oakland Raiders: New Stadium Doesn’t Mean Better Stadium
The reports of overheating and overcrowding at Levi’s Stadium should be a sign for the Oakland Raiders that a new stadium doesn’t guarantee a better fan experience. The current Oakland Coliseum has an east side that’s perfect for football viewing and has enough interior space to accomodate fans seeking to beat the heat.
That said, some of the seats on that side are well-covered against extreme sun exposure. Given the good aspects of the East Side, and the need for the Oakland A’s to have a better stadium, I’m starting to think we need to re-think the idea of a new facility.
I’m starting to think that, first, we need to ask the A’s and Raiders if they would consider a hybrid multi-purpose stadium that is made from the existing one, but uniquely created to serve two masters.
That’s another long set of blog posts.