49ers open $1.2-billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara to much fanfare
The San Francisco 49ers officially opened their new home, Levi’s Stadium, on Thursday in Santa Clara, Calif.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh, linebacker Patrick Willis and left tackle Joe Staley joined team CEO Jed York and others on stage to cut the ribbons for the opulent $1.2-billion stadium.
The stadium’s opening put one of the NFL’s flagship franchises on firm footing and planted the country’s most popular sports league in technology-rich Silicon Valley for the first time.
Goodell called it a milestone for the league. He also added a twist to the ceremony by addressing the looming stadium issue just up the road in Oakland, where the Raiders have long been searching for a replacement to the outdated Coliseum.
Goodell said it’s up to the Raiders to decide whether they want to try to build a stadium in Oakland or share the facility at Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers — an idea York has never dismissed.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has said he doesn’t want to be a renter in the 49ers’ facility, which is now fitted with red seats and posters of past and present San Francisco greats.
The 49ers’ new home will hold about 68,500 fans and has the ability to expand to 75,000 for Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. The facility features 165 luxury suites, 9,000 club seats and a green rooftop deck that includes solar panels and herbs for on-site food preparation.
Levi’s Stadium, steps away from the 49ers’ practice facility, is about 45 miles south of downtown San Francisco — the longest distance any team in the league has to the city that bears its name.
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