The 49ers believe Levi’s Stadium, which opened less than a decade ago, needs a makeover and the Santa Clara-based franchise wants to borrow from the NFL for upgrades ahead of hosting 2026 World Cup soccer games.
Seats and scoreboards will be enhanced if the 49ers secure $120 million from the NFL’s stadium fund, which the franchise sought to secure Tuesday at the league meeting in Phoenix, The Athletic reported.
Enhancements could also lead to the Super Bowl’s return to Levi’s Stadium, which is owned by the city of Santa Clara and managed by the 49ers in what’s been a contentious relationship. The NFL is set to announce in May the sites for Super Bowl 60 and 61; Levi’s Stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 to cap the 2015 season.
“My optimism is very high,” 49ers CEO Jed York told reporters at the league meeting, per SI.com. “I feel fairly confident. I don’t know for sure we’ll get Super Bowl 60, but I feel very confdient we’ll get a Super Bowl in the near future.
“It’d be great to get Super Bowl 60 after hosting Super Bowl 50. It’d be great to get that game after bringing the world cup to Levi’s Stadium. Those are two of the largest sporting events in the world and having them back-to-back would be fantastic.”
NFL vote on loan is expected to take place today and evaluate the Super Bowl bids at the next league meetings in May.
Jed York on Super Bowl going back to Santa Clara: “My optimism is very high… I feel very confident that we’re gonna get a Super Bowl in the near future.” https://t.co/5RC4qGDhw6
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) March 28, 2023
Renovations would begin next year, after this coming season, and stadium suites could be renovated and expanded, from 170 to 179.
“When you spend a lot of money on building a new stadium, you watch some of the stadiums that aren’t upgraded, and it’s very easy for them to fall into disrepair,” York said. “You want to make sure that you’re re-investing in your stadium. Because I went through a stadium process. It’s not a fun, making-you-younger type of process.
“The more that we can enhance Levi’s Stadium, the more that we can put into the stadium and keep it our home for a long period of time, we’re going to continue to do that.”
Updating suites also is a key part of the 49ers’ incentive to attract local businesses.
“We’re in the heart of Silicon Valley and the heart of the second largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies,” Brent Schoeb, the 49ers’ chief revenue officer, told The Athletic. “Based on that segment’s feedback, they want a top tier VIP entertainment for their customers, and then also coming out of COVID for their employees, as well. So we certainly think we can increase the value proposition with all these renovations, which in turn will certainly help generate more revenue.”
York declined to address the 49ers’ front office purge in February of several vice presidents, as well as long-time director of stadium operations Jim Mercurio.
As for the 49ers’ financial approach to their roster, York had no qualms with their approach at quarterback, in which they spent big to draft Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in 2021, only to find a hidden gem at No. 262 last year with Brock Purdy.
“You can’t worry that Trey hasn’t played as many games as we we would have liked. It’s not his fault. He got injured,” York said. “And when you look at when we drafted him, we wanted to make sure that we had a young quarterback on a rookie contract that allows you to say, ‘Alright, Javon is kind of a bonus.’
“There’s a delta in what you’re spending on your quarterback compared to what others are spending on their quarterback,” York continued. “I hope that one of these three quarterbacks gets a massive, massive extension with the 49ers at some point, but until then, we’re going to make sure that we build this thing around a young quarterback with a very team-friendly contract. Again, the ultimate goal is to win a championship. It’s not to say that this draft pick or this decision was the perfect decision. It’s to win the Super Bowl.”
The annual budget could again include an extended stay on the East Coast between road games this season, such as their layovers at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia each of the past three seasons.
“I’m not sure staying in the same place every year is ideal, but if you have to spend $1 million to stay somewhere, but that takes 10 hours of travel out and takes inflammation out of guys’ bodies and it gives you a better chance to win, I will spend $1 million any time to win a game,” York said.
As for the stadium loan, franchises get a low-interest rate, and they can avoid repaying 34 percent by retaining shared revenue, per The Athletic.
Levi’s Stadium’s upcoming events, aside from the 49ers’ eight regular-season home games, include a golf event April 7-8, a San Jose Earthquakes game May 6, and then the high-revenue concerts of Taylor Swift (July 28-29), Beyonce (Aug. 30) and Ed Sheeran (Sept. 16).