Niners’ Move to Levi’s Stadium Marks End of Era in San Francisco Sports|
By: Carlos Smart
When the San Francisco 49ers take the field for their home opener in Week 2 of the 2014 NFL season, it will mark the start of a new era. Levi’s Stadium will become the Niners new home, replacing the familiar confines of Candlestick Park, where the 49ers have played since 1971 with much success. The 49ers are 15/2 for Super Bowl 49 with Bovada (via sportsbettingsites.tv)
Built at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion dollars, Levi’s Stadium will also play host to Super Bowl 50, and be the permanent home for the NCAA Pac-12 Conference’s championship game.
Long the symbol of San Francisco sports, also home to Major League Baseball’s San Francisco, local sports fans have endured a love/hate with “the Stick”, which has also been known by less flattering nicknames including “the Quagmire” and “the Dump”, in reference to the previous use of the location before Candlestick was built.
Levi’s Stadium is the first new NFL stadium since the New York Giants and New York Jets moved to MetLife Stadium in 2010. The opening of MetLife capped a flurry of new stadium construction that included new homes for the Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys, opening between 2003 and 2010.
Candlestick Park had been the third oldest stadium in use in the NFL. That distinction now falls to Oakland County Coliseum. Built in 1966, Oakland Coliseum has been the on again, off again home of the Oakland Raiders, who have bounced between the Coliseum, Candlestick Park and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum over the last three decades.
Two football temples fill the top spots as the NFL’s oldest stadiums.
Soldier Field, built in 1924, has been the home of the Chicago Bears since 1971. Following the Bears’ move there from Wrigley Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, several initiatives were undertaken to build a new suburban stadium for the team. But much to the delight of fans of the downtown Chicago facility, Soldier Field underwent extensive renovations in 2003, and has been designated as an historical landmark.
The NFL’s second oldest stadium may also be its most famous. Lambeau Field has been home to the Green Bay Packers since 1957. Lambeau has undergone multiple renovations and expansions, and currently has a capacity of over 72,000; more than twice its original capacity of 32,500 in the Packers’ first season there.
One additional new NFL stadium is planned in the near future. Ground was broken last December on Vikings Stadium, which is scheduled to be the new home of the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, and the site of Super Bowl LII in February, 2018.
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