SBD/October 3, 2013/Facilities

Capacity At 49ers' Levi's Stadium Larger Than Expected; Construction Stays On Pace

Levi's Stadium capacity for large-scale events will expand to 75,000
Construction officials working on the 49ers' new Levi’s Stadium said that the venue's capacity will be between 69,000 and 70,000, "up from the long-planned estimate of 68,500," according to Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Construction supervisors said that they were “able to find space sprinkled around the stadium to squeeze in extra seats without changing the stadium's structure or seat sizes.” For special events like Super Bowl L in '16, the capacity will “expand to about 75,000 seats.” The 49ers held a ceremony on Tuesday to “formally install the first of the 57,000 plastic red seats that will fill out the upper deck and the bulk of the lower bowl.” Construction workers will now spend three months “working from the top of the stadium toward the field, methodically taking the seats out of their cardboard boxes and using power drills to bold them to rails.” The seats "feature the 49ers' logo and, of course, a cup holder." Steel, concrete, plumbing and electrical wires have “been going in since the project broke ground 18 months ago,” and the "finishing touches are now being installed.” Scoreboard installation is scheduled to begin “within two weeks,” and the field “should be planted” by the beginning of the new year. Turner Construction VP & Construction Exec Robert Rayborn, a co-director on the Levi's Stadium project, said there is "no doubt" that the stadium will be ready by the end of July '14 as planned (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/3).

LONG TIME COMING: ESPN THE MAGAZINE’s Seth Wickersham writes Levi’s Stadium is being called the “House That Jed Built” after 49ers CEO Jed York, and the facility is a 68,500-seat “miracle that will open next fall.” The stadium is “being constructed in a region surrounded by cash-strapped counties, in a state that hasn't built a pro football venue in almost 50 years.” It will “open a year ahead of schedule,” and not only will it host Super Bowl L in '16, but it also will “house a Super Bowl contender, only four years after the 49ers were as irrelevant as the hopes for a new stadium were dismal.” When York assumed control of the team in ’09, he was “viewed not as a savior but as the latest in a series of trust-fund debacles.” His role “was to sell the new stadium” to residents in Santa Clara, and he went “door to door” in the city to convince residents to vote for the measure. York for four nights a week for a year “entered strangers' houses, sometimes bearing coffee and cookies, where voters waited, armed with questions” (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 10/14 issue).
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