The most-watched NFL regular season game of 2014 could be the Thanksgiving night game when the Seattle Seahawks visit the San Francisco 49ers in their shiny, new Levi s Stadium.
But the 49ers new home in Santa Clara, about 50 miles south of San Francisco, is getting an unfavorable review from Ashlee Vance, a writer for Bloomberg Businessweek.
Vance says the stadium isn t ugly, but says he expected more from a $1.3 billion venue in the Silicon Valley.
The team had shifted from the old, decrepit Candlestick Stadium, caught in a no-man s-land between San Francisco and the monied suburbs of Silicon Valley, wrote Vance. The 49ers could have built something as beautiful at AT&T Park something with character and unique architectural elements. Instead, they built something that is nice, functional, and unspectacular. Wasn t the whole point of Levi s Stadium to appeal to the ultrarich who spend their days immersed in technological wonder?
Vance poked some fun at the team for boasting that the stadium has Wi-Fi. In the Silicon Valley. Wow. But will it work on gameday? Seahawks fans already know that the Wi-Fi at CenturyLink is often spotty.
Transit is also an issue. When the San Jose Earthquakes hosted the Seattle Sounders FC in an MLS game last weekend, Vance said it took him 90 minutes to get home on the overtaxed train system a trip that normally takes him 15 minutes by car. That was with about 48,000 fans, not the 69,000 the full stadium can hold.
Vance did have some good reviews for the sound system, big screen, wide concourses, dining choices and clean bathrooms. He also said the stadium design works well with the valley s natural surroundings.
One personal observation from just from looking at photos: Levi s Stadium looks wider than CenturyLink Field. The seats appear to spread out, not up. Also, there s no roof, unlike CenturyLink s cantilevered partial roof that can help keep the noise from fans contained in the stadium. You would think, after having to play in Seattle once a year for 12 seasons, the 49ers would have tried to mimic the Seahawks home field advantage from an architectural standpoint.
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