Season Ticket Holders Take Their Seats
Andrew Pentis, 49ers.com
When Miranda Margheim, a 49ers fan since the days of Kezar Stadium, reclined in the first seat at Levi’s® Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, she offered two words.
“Very comfortable,” Margheim, who has attended three of the team’s Super Bowl appearances, said with a smile. “All of the stadiums I have seen in my life, to see this one, it’s like a dream come true.”
Margheim and her son, Steven, slid into red, “SF”-logoed seats ‘5’ and ‘6’ in a row marked 1-14 – the first at their favorite team’s new home. That’s exactly where they’ll be during the inaugural 2014 season and beyond, in the lower bowl and at about the 10-yard line.
“She’s seen a lot of different seats,” 49ers project executive Jack Hill said, referencing Margheim’s stint as a ticketholder at Kezar, where until 1970 fans literally sat on wood, and at Candlestick Park, where games have been played since ‘71. “I told her, ‘You’re not going to get splinters in these seats.”
With two quick triggers of a drill screwing the steel brackets, attached to the base of the plastic chairs, onto an aluminum rail (all recyclable materials, mind you), the installation was quickly over.
They’re the first of 68,500 seats to be placed within the next nine months, a span over which 17,000 man hours will be racked up. (Levi’s® capacity jumps to 75,000 for special events like Super Bowl L, Margheim’s fourth, in 2016.)
Of course, the significance of the milestone is obvious.
“We’ve talked about Levi’s Stadium being the smartest stadium, being a software-driven stadium with high-density Wi-Fi for every person; and in-seat delivery to every seat in the house, food and beverage and merchandise; we’ve talked about events and 49ers games being power by the sun,” team chief operating officer Paraag Marathe told a gathering of media.
“We’ve talked about all these really neat things, but all of it starts – and none of it means anything – without seats.”
All of the general bowl seating, 56,430 on the dot, will be manufactured in nearby Hayward, Calif. There will also be 9,295 seats on the stadium’s club level and 2,192 in the suites.
In addition, 45,000-plus seats including Margheim’s pair, makes Levi’s® Stadium’s lower bowl one of the most expansive in the NFL. Proximity to the field of play is being put at a premium.
“The closeness of the fans to the action is,” Hill said, “a feeling of intimacy with the event going on.”
Two season ticketholders can attest.
“Now,” Steven Margheim said, “we can sit back and relax.”