The San Francisco 49ers moved into Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium in 2014. What’s gone wrong? Well, it would be easier to go over what’s gone right. The decision to move out of the actual city of San Francisco was controversial when it was made. Some of the concerns were valid. Some were a little more irrational. But into the team’s fourth year at the stadium, it’s fair to say that the experiment has been a failure, and not a small one. It starts with the empty seats, which are noticeable at every game. For Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, tickets are going for $14 on the secondary market. There’s also a expectation that there will be thousands of empty seats for the game. Now, some of this can be attributed to the team’s play. There are plenty of entertainment options in the Bay Area — sports or otherwise — and it’s hard to attract fans to come out to spend their Sunday afternoons watching a truly bad team play. So, if and when the 49ers start winning again, Levi’s will be packed, right? Well, the attendance will be better. But this problem actually reaches beyond just the team’s win-loss record. Jim Harbaugh’s final season with the team — 2014 — was certainly a disappointing one. An 8-8 season might seem like pure bliss now. But when compared to 36-11-1, three NFC Championship Games, and a Super Bowl appearance from 2011-13, 8-8 doesn’t look so good. Still, that was a team that started 7-4. It was very much a playoff contender into the season’s final weeks. Yet, even as at that 7-4 mark was being achieved, the stadium had visible empty pockets. Maybe not enough to match what we’ve seen from 2015-17, but the actual attendance was poor.
49ers’ move to Santa Clara has been an absolute bust
Sportsnaut | Sep 21