49ers Say So Long To The ‘Stick As Team Enters Final Season At Stadium
Before the 49ers move into the cutting-edge Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara next year, they are celebrating their final season at Candlestick Park with a series of events and promotions capped off with appearances by team legends and a sale of stadium seats to season-ticket holders. The 49ers, which has played their home games at the 53-year-old stadium since ‘71, got the ball rolling on its “Farewell Candlestick” campaign last November with an online fan vote for the top ten greatest 49ers moments at the park. The month-long vote led to “The Catch” -- Joe Montana’s pass to a leaping Dwight Clark in the ’82 NFC Championship Game -- being voted the team’s No. 1 moment at home. The top 10 were then incorporated into the team’s presentation box for season-ticket holders. 49ers Marketing Dir Ali Towle noted that in order to create a retro feel, the red-and-gold box resembles an old-fashioned board game container, with the phrase “For Faithful of All Ages” prominently featured on the front.
MOMENTS IN TIME: Each individual game ticket features a photo depicting the moment to be celebrated at that game, alongside a booklet providing more details and quotes from players, and a commemorative Farewell Season pin. In addition, a July event was held to allow season-ticket holders to pick up their ticket boxes at Candlestick, with a last chance to visit the locker room and take to the field for a photo. The in-game celebrations got underway with the 49ers’ Aug. 8 preseason game against the Broncos featuring the No. 10 moment -- the team’s blowout of the Rams in the ’90 NFC Championship Game -- with former RB Roger Craig as honorary team captain. The No. 9 moment saw former QB Jeff Garcia serve the same role at the Aug. 25 game against the Vikings in honor of a '03 comeback against the Giants in an NFC Wild Card game. During the 49ers’ season-opener Sunday against the Packers, the team will remember QB Joe Montana’s return from back surgery -- although ironically, Towle said that Montana as of last week was not a sure bet to return for the day. However, WR Jerry Rice is slated to appear for the game celebrating his passing Jim Brown to become the NFL’s all-time top TD scorer, and Terrell Owens will drop in on Nov. 10.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: SAP, which is the naming partner for the 49ers’ new training facility in Santa Clara, will continue to be involved with the top 10 moments initiative, with all mentions officially presented by the company. The halftime show at each home game will include a video feature interviewing players telling the story of each moment. The field itself will feature end zone designs in the team’s classic “saloon font” as well as the Farewell Season logo at midfield throughout the year. National anthem singers for home games will continue the throwback theme, with Huey Lewis and Jeffrey Osborne among those performing. The 49ers plan giveaways during the year as part of the campaign, including the continuation of the team’s soccer-style scarf giveaway on Fan Appreciation Day, as well as a retro-design pennant for the final regular-season home game. Merchandise featuring the logo is available at retail stores and at Shop49ers.com.
GOING LONG: Pepsi, which in July signed on as the new soda sponsor for Levi’s Stadium, created 12-ounce cans featuring the Farewell Season logo for a local contest featuring the line, “Here’s To A Golden Era.” Towle said plans for the team’s final game at Candlestick are up in the air, depending on how deep a playoff run the team may make. In the meantime, the Farewell Candlestick website will be relaunched as a fan engagement tool. 49ers VP/Stadium Operations & Security Jim Mercurio said that pieces of the stadium will live on as the team is finalizing an agreement with the city for the team to sell seats from Candlestick to season-ticket holders. The 49ers hope to be able to begin selling seats in the next 30-60 days, in advance of the stadium’s anticipated deconstruction for approximately January ’15.