When the San Jose Earthquakes announced that they would play the inaugural sporting event at Levi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, the mood was one of celebration. But since that time, as more and more details have emerged, that sentiment has turned from one less of enthusiasm to one marked by apprehension. So what should Quakes supporters expect in Santa Clara this afternoon?
The Earthquakes have Santa Clara officials have been warning fans that will attend the Saturday's match against the Sounders to be prepared for delays. The event is essentially a dry-run for stadium officials to see what they might expect at, and how they can best prepare for, the first 49ers preseason game later this month. The Quakes game will have capacity limited to 46,000, a good number to experiment with, ahead of crowds of more than 65,000 for the 49ers. The Quakes announced earlier in the week that the team would play at Levi's once a season for the next five years.
Since it is the 49ers stadium, the Quakes have had merely an advisory role in the preparation and setup for tonight's game. Tickets were provided first to 49ers season ticket holders, and Earthquakes season tickets holders had their seats assigned to them in "comparable seating sections." If Quakes fans wanted additional seats to the event, they had to purchase them through Ticketmaster. Parking at the new stadium ranges from $30 to $35.
Getting to the stadium will also be a challenge if the lessons learned from a 49ers open house event are not followed. Big delays on local streets and stand-still traffic on freeway exits will need to be addressed. The Earthquakes have suggested to fans that they show up as early as possible. The parking lots do open at 3:30 p.m. -- four hours before kickoff -- and the gates open at 5:30 p.m. Parking policies and tailgating guidelines are spelled out, but how these policies are implemented and enforced remains to be seen.
And then there is the NFL's Bag Policy, which will be in effect for today's game. Don't bring your backpack to the gate. Leave those seat cushions in the car. And if you carry a purse, prepare to pare it down and take with you just the essentials in a clutch or clear plastic bag. Blankets seem to be okay, though it is summer, and temperature shouldn't be a problem. However, if you like to bring signs, flags, or any other banned with you to Buck Shaw, you will not be allowed to bring them into Levi's Stadium.
Earlier this week, Earthquakes fans were asked on Twitter how they felt about the game being held at Levi's, especially in light of the new deal that will make the 49ers stadium an annual event for the club. The question was: Are you enthusiastic/apprehensive/apathetic/apoplectic about tomorrow's big game at Levi's Stadium? The replies varied, and many are shown below. The question was also asked on the Center Line Soccer Facebook page (please Like our page, if you haven't already), eliciting a tremendous number of responses.
@robertjonas Concerns: 1) Hoping site lines will be better than Stanford, 2) Will too many fans be there to see stadium rather than game?— David Keller (@dhkeller) August 1, 2014
@robertjonas Concerns: 3) Will long term five year deal see season ticket holders screwed out of good seats each time? s222 is crap.— David Keller (@dhkeller) August 1, 2014
@robertjonas worse seats, more expensive parking & bag policy vs. big test for the Quakes & a chance to see DP. A little of everything— William Mooney (@WilliamDMooney) August 1, 2014
@robertjonas MLS games at an NFL stadium with NFL $$$ defeats the purpose of what MLS soccer is all about, esp with a SJ new stadium— Ron Barnett (@ronaldoca) August 1, 2014
Is is good for Earthquakes supporters that the team will play at Levi's Stadium once a season, or is it just good business. Share your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll see you (or maybe not) at Levi's Stadium later today!