Levi’s Stadium isn’t quite finished. No one can play ball yet, because there’s no grass on the field. Most of the seats are in place, but there are probably about 30,000 left to install. The concourses, locker rooms and clubs are still getting finished, and the suites have no furniture. But it looks like a stadium, and the 49ers are looking forward to a ribbon-cutting ceremony in July before its first event — a football game of a different kind, between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders on Aug. 2.
The future home of the 49ers looks quite a bit different than the last time I toured the place back in October, but I shot photos from some of the same vantage points if you want to see how the construction is coming along.
The home team’s locker room
The 49ers won’t just use their new locker room (which is twice the size of the one they used in Candlestick Park) during games, it’ll be the team’s locker room seven days a week. The current locker room in Santa Clara, located adjacent to the practice field, will be an “auxiliary locker room” that was also described as a “changing station.”
From the locker room, the 49ers will head through a corridor that leads the team to the 50-yard line.
No grass yet, but they’re preparing a strain of bermuda grass in the valley that’ll get trucked over and installed in April. The irrigation system is already in the ground, and they’ll spread these piles of dirt/gravel to raise the level of the earth about two or three feet.
The press box
There will be 258 seats, but only about 225 or so will be in use during regular season games. That’s close to the same number that was in Candlestick Park’s press box, but people won’t be stacked almost on top of each other at Levi’s.
Here’s the view from where the media will sit. At Candlestick, the middle of the press box was right on the 50-yard line. That’s not the case at Levi’s Stadium (more like the area from the 30 to the south end zone), but while it might be a little higher it’s still much closer to the field (just like the upper deck on the opposite side) because it isn’t pushed so far back:
Here’s a quick video of how it looks from up there:
And down below, near the locker rooms, is the new media workroom. None of you will care (nor should you), but it’s a huge upgrade from the media trailer next to the practice field.
There are 176 suites, with 108 in the suite tower and the rest spanning the rest of the stadium above the second level. The glass doors can be completely opened up if people want to watch the games and still feel like they’re “outside with the people,” or they can sit outside here:
And inside, they even have a tile backsplash in the back with the refrigerators already installed. These suites would be a big hit with the HGTV crowd, except they don’t have granite countertops. HGTV couples LOVE granite countertops. (And stainless steel appliances!).
Many of you have probably seen the Levi’s signs, either on the outside of the stadium or on top of the two video boards, which are gigantic. Not quite Cowboys Stadium huge, but they’re a MASSIVE upgrade on the solitary standard-def screen at The Stick:
Here’s a taste of what things will look like on the concourse:
But this was my favorite sign of the day, seen in the 49ers’ locker room:
Guessing that sign won’t be around when the stadium is finished.
Here’s what will become the largest craft beers concession stand in the stadium (above the first level on the east side, if you’re into that sort of thing).
And while some of this space will probably get filled up by more food and beverage stations, the photo below shows just how much more room there will be at Levi’s to walk around than there is at Candlestick (this is the area above the first level).
From the east side, you can see where the 49ers practice.
There are some great views from Levi’s Stadium. This electric field and the houses behind it does not count as one of those areas (49ers headquarters is in the foreground).
Over on the westside, you can see two of the three pedestrian bridges that fans will use to cross the creek that flows between the stadium and the main (Great America) parking lot.
Here’s the other bridge, next to Tasman Drive.
The stairways on the NW corner of the stadium, which sandwich what looks like a solar panel:
Here’s the view after climbing those stairs:
Walk about 100 feet to your left, and you’ll get this view from behind the middle of the north end zone:
Walk another 100 feet, and here’s what you’ll see:
And here’s the 50-yard line sightline from the top of the first level (you can see roller coasters on to the left of the suite tower):
It’s been reported that the 49ers will open the 2014 season on the road, and will play their first game here in Week 2, probably on a Sunday night. My plan, as long as the 49ers will have me, is to watch that game from the upper left portion of the tower in the press box. For those of you lucky enough to sit in the seats (and check out the craft beer selection), I’m guessing that night will be an incredible experience.