SBD/August 25, 2014/Facilities

Levi's Stadium Avoids Serious Issue After Quick Installation Of New Sod

Levi's Stadium's sod was replaced after a practice was canceled last week
Levi's Stadium's new grass surface that was installed on Friday "was dotted with divots" after yesterday's preseason game against the Chargers, but footing "didn't appear to be a significant issue," according to Eric Branch of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The surface was replaced because the team had issues with it during practice last Wednesday, and 49ers RB LaMichael James "appeared to be the only player to have serious problems with footing." 49ers K Phil Dawson said he was "just amazed it was that playable given that it was put in" on Friday. Branch reports the 49ers "probably will remove Sunday's sod and install a new surface that will have time to take root before the next event at Levi's Stadium, a Mexico vs. Chile soccer match Sept. 6." The 49ers next play at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 14 (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/25). James said of the field conditions, "You want me to be honest? It was bad." But he added, "I should have had better cleats, to be honest. I should have known the situation coming in here. I’ll take the blame on that." In Sacramento, Matt Barrows noted most 49ers "gave milder reviews" than James. During yesterday's game, seams "between the rows of sod were visible and the footing wasn’t great" (SACBEE.com, 8/24). Fox' Erin Andrews said she talked to players on both teams during warm-ups yesterday, "and they said, 'It looks fine. You can see some seams and it feels thick.'" Andrews: "But they all admitted they’ve played on much worse. San Francisco players did tell me they’d much rather play on a field like this than what they had Wednesday at practice and Sunday against the Broncos because huge chunks were coming up” ("Chargers-49ers," Fox, 8/24). 

PRIORITY CHECK-IN: The S.F. CHRONICLE's Branch noted the 49ers "postponed a high-school football doubleheader scheduled for Friday." The four teams "originally involved will play at the stadium in October" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/23). THE MMQB's Peter King writes the 49ers "have to stop worrying about being such good corporate neighbors -- and about scheduling so many non-NFL events in their new stadium during the football season -- and worry about getting their field right." Instead of two high-school games this week, there will now "be four in two days in midseason." King: "I get it. ... But with an international friendly soccer match and four high school football games in the place over a five-week period, if I’m Jim Harbaugh, I’m wondering: What’s the priority here? It should be to have the best field for the 49ers. The rest of the stuff can happen in the offseason" (MMQB.SI.com, 8/25). 

SAN FRANCISCO TREATS: In Sacramento, Quinn Western reported Levi’s Stadium’s food program "was more than three years in the making, put together by professional chefs who toured other NFL stadiums, focus-grouped Niner fans and area foodies and test drove their many custom creations before they made the menu." Centerplate "is running the show at Levi’s." But the stadium also is "working with Michelin star-winning chef Michael Mina," whose restaurant "is open to the public during away games and on non-game days." But when the 49ers "are playing at Levi’s, the place temporarily becomes home to Michael Mina’s Tailgate, a members-only club that offers a multicourse menu, bottomless booze and a $5,000-a-season membership fee." Close to 80% of all food products at Levi's "will be sourced from within 150 miles" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/24). Meanwhile, in S.F., John Diaz wrote something "was conspicuously lacking in the crowd" at the Broncos-49ers game two weeks ago, as children "were few and far between" at Levi's Stadium. But there is an "understandable reason: season tickets at even the extremities of the sun-seared top eastern deck require seat licenses starting at $2,000, not counting the $131 cost of a seat for prime games, or parking and concessions" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/23).
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