Sports Business Daily: Levi’s® Stadium Technology’s ‘Ultimate Showroom’

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Silicon Valley finally has a sports address. It’s Levi’s® Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers’ new $1.3 billion home in Santa Clara.

The facility, 45 miles south of San Francisco and 10 miles northwest of San Jose, will be a showcase for top technology brands in the Bay Area, some familiar to consumers and others that fly under the radar. It’s the result of the 49ers’ vision of developing a cutting-edge stadium and a marketing strategy for differentiating within an expanded tech category and allowing each company to tell its story at the 68,500-seat building.

When the stadium officially opens less than two months from now, for a San Jose Earthquakes game Aug. 2, the 49ers will have 10 technology sponsors on board, including founding partners Brocade, Comcast, Intel, SAP and Yahoo. 

Those five firms all signed 10-year deals valued in the mid-seven figures annually. Two other tech companies, Sony and data storage provider Violin Memory, have deals considered to be one step below the founding partner level, said Ethan Casson, the 49ers’ chief revenue officer. 

The team also has deals in the negotiations stage for three Bay Area tech firms to sponsor the stadium’s suite tower, press level and owners club, Casson said. Those agreements are also a level below founding partners. 

Few if any major league facilities can match the number of tech partners for marketing and building services and the value of those deals.

Levi’s® Stadium sits in the heart of Silicon Valley, and having multiple tech firms as neighbors played a key role for driving those deals, sponsors and 49ers officials said. All told, the team targeted more than 100 technology companies since it went to market in 2012, Casson said.

“You drive into work in the morning and see pretty quickly just how amazing of a landscape it is out here with all this technology,” Casson said.

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