Photo of shade being cast on Levi's Stadium. Home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Image Credit: Chris Martin (CC BY 2.0)

In case you haven’t noticed, Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, has been virtually empty on more than one occasion this season. One of those reasons appears to be because the east side of the stadium offers virtually no shade for fans on hot and sunny game days. This was especially the case for the first home game of the season when the team hosted the Carolina Panthers. As a result, the San Francisco 49ers organization have hired Populous, an architectural firm in Kansas City, to see if awnings can be added to Levi’s Stadium.

Due to Levi’s Stadium’s proximity to Mineta San Jose International Airport, Levi’s Stadium cannot be made taller because it would interfere with the airport’s flight path. The 49ers will also need to get creative because one entire side of Levi’s Stadium has regular seating while another side has suites. The blueprint and design for Levi Stadium was originally made for Candlestick Point; the site of the team’s former home stadium. When the team chose to construct Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, they didn’t take into account the difference in climate.

In a day when teams compete to provide their fans with the best fan experience possible, the shade issue is not something the team can choose to ignore. Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins owner, recently funded a $500 renovation of Hard Rock Stadium which now offers a canopy and an abundance of shade for fans. The question remains as to whether or not Jed York would be willing to fund this much needed renovation of Levi’s Stadium rather than relying on the local taxpayers.

Santa Clara’s stadium authority and the San Francisco 49ers already have a rocky relationship thanks to the findings of a recent audit of Levi’s Stadium. The audit alleges that the 49ers owe the city of Santa Clara in excess of $100,000 for costs associated with staffed security during concerts at Levi’s Stadium.




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