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Cat Bites: New 49ers stadium isn’t crammed enough

Kevin Lucena

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A view of the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium, Levi's Stadium, in Santa Clara. Photo credit: Kevin Lucena

Nineteen feet. That’s all the room fans had while walking the concourses inside Candlestick Park. For 43 seasons, the San Francisco 49ers played at Candlestick Park. Now, compared to that, a jumbo jet could be landed on the 63-foot-wide concourses at the team’s new stadium, Levi’s Stadium, located in Santa Clara.

I’ve attended over a dozen games at Candlestick Park and experienced its cramped feeling. I miss that feeling. I’d rather stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow fans than feel like I’m walking into the mall, which is how it felt walking into Levi’s Stadium for the first time Nov. 23.

In addition to the lack of closeness at Levi’s Stadium, there’s actually less seats in it than at Candlestick. The ‘Stick houses 69,732 spectators, while Levi’s Stadium has room for 68,500. After watching the 49ers face off against the Washington Redskins, I have to say I remember Candlestick Park as being louder.

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A look at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Photo credit: Kevin Lucena

There are a few areas that benefit from the size of Levi’s Stadium though. The new locker room is about twice the size of the one at Candlestick Park. Inside, the players have access to new hot and cold tubs, along with a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool with an underwater treadmill for players rehabilitating from an injury. Levi’s Stadium also has a larger press box with room for 33 more seats for reporters, and space for another 50 in the press box’s dining area.

The new stadium has openings in two corners, I guess to give a great view of the freeway. My dad commented on how much better the setting could be if you were looking out at the bay in San Francisco, and it’s hard not to agree. Of course, building a stadium in the suburbs leads to higher prices than the prices at Candlestick Park, which was located close to nothing near its size or profitability.

The average cost of a ticket at Candlestick Park was $165 with another $30-$40 for parking. At Levi’s Stadium, be ready to crack open your wallet. The average ticket prices to a game so far this year has been over $200 and $40-$60 dollars for parking.

With this new stadium and its upgrades for the players, fans and even the press, Santa Clara is set to host Super Bowl 2016.

With so many businesses nearby, the team has yet to secure enough parking to host Monday Night Football games this season. Candlestick Park played host to 36 Monday Night Football games, more than any other stadium in NFL history. I know I’ll never forget how the stadium erupted when Navarro Bowman picked off a tipped Matt Ryan pass and ran it back for a 49er touchdown, clinching the last game played at Candlestick Park and a playoff spot for the team on Monday Night Football.

The 49ers will be able to host Monday Night Football games starting next season. Hopefully by then the team will have solved their offensive issues, and can host some playoff games in the new stadium. The 49ers hosted the most NFL playoff games and won the most home playoff games at their old park. Maybe when Super Bowl 50 comes to Santa Clara in 2016, the 49ers could be there playing in the game.

Kevin Lucena can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_sports on Twitter.

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Cat Bites: New 49ers stadium isn’t crammed enough