Monday evening, the San Francisco 49ers announced that Levi's Stadium was "sold out" for the 2014 season. That's 68,500 season tickets and luxury suites signed, sealed and delivered. Mike Rosenberg reported the combination of SBLs and luxury suites accounts for $930 million. According to Rosenberg, $530 million is the SBL number. Of that, Rosenberg reported that $300 million has already been paid, and the remaining $230 million is being financed. That's a whole lot of cheddar.
Although the team announced a sell-out, there will be a limited number of individual tickets available for each game. The team will have 1,500 standing room only tickets available for each game. Additionally, the team will make as many as 400 seated tickets available for each game.
The standing room tickets will go on sale for all games before the first preseason game. The "up to 400" seated tickets will be made available the Thursday before each game. In order to be eligible to purchase ANY of these tickets, you need to join the 49ers rewards program, which is called the Faithful 49 program.
The Faithful 49 program is a loyalty program that operates like a kind of cross between frequent flyer programs, and the skee ball game you played as a kid that earned you tickets for crappy prizes (the 49ers prizes are better). The program provides a chance to earn points (they call them "yards") that can be redeemed from everything from jerseys, to tickets to the Earthquakes-Sounders game, to the right to bid on practice-worn jerseys and other items. It is free to join the program, and you can start to earn yards without spending any money. However, to really load up on yards, you'll need to purchase items.
You can earn yards through a variety of means. Attending 49ers games provides quite a few opportunities. You can get yards when you use the mobile app ticketing feature. The team is trying to get as close to paperless as possible, so this will encourage use of the mobile app. Additionally, you can earn yards when you purchasing food and merchandise at the stadium.
There are also a variety of free options for earning yards. You get 100 yards just for signing up, and then can earn yards for things like following them on social media accounts (20 yards for Facebook, 20 yards for Twitter), watching 49ers.com videos (5 yards), and reading articles on 49ers.com (5 yards). You get more yards for things that cost money, but you can still get yards without spending a ton of money. When you first start you can pick up a nice little chunk of yards pretty quickly. I signed up and did some of the early things to redeem yards and currently have 925. You get some bonuses for doing things for the first time.
You can redeem yards for merchandise and events, with some early point costs ranging from 150 yards for food and beverage items at the stadium (using the stadium app) to 10,000 yards for a practice-worn Michael Crabtree jersey. It's still early but I'd imagine there will be more rewards available as we move into the season.
Purchasing single game tickets
For purposes of purchasing single game tickets, there are two things you need to know:
1. To be eligible to purchase any of the 1,500 per game standing room tickets (sold before season starts), you simply need to join the Faithful 49 (no purchases necessary).
2. To be eligible for the "up to 400" seated tickets released each Thursday before games, you will need to be among the top yardage earners. When you set up your account and start earning yards, you'll see a ranking on the top right, along with your total yards. If you are among the eligibly ranked fans, you'll be notified the week of the game.
When you redeem yards for merchandise or other items, you don't drop in the rankings. You lose the yards that you used, but you are still ranked based on your total "earned" yards. The yards will reset each year following the Super Bowl. If you are among the top 49 highest ranked fans in yards earned, you will get a custom 49ers letter jacket, and it sounds like field passes to a game.
I want to come in from out of town for a game, what does this mean?
The standing room tickets will go on sale sometime during the early part of August (maybe late July at the very earliest). If you need to start booking travel and hotels now, I would recommend beginning the search through the secondary ticket market. Whether it be TiqIQ,NFL Ticket Exchange, StubHub, or any of a vast assortment of online ticket agencies, you will likely need to go that route for tickets. Given the price of tickets, it is worth noting NFL Ticket Exchange purchases are fully guaranteed by the NFL. You can roll the dice on individual tickets, but they will not be easy to come by.
It obviously is not ideal that individual tickets will be hard to come by, but 49ers fans are far from the only fan base to deal with this. The Green Bay Packers put zero individual tickets on sale. It comes with being so incredibly popular. And given how well the team is performing right now, it's going to be a while before individual tickets become a little easier to get. Ideally the team keeps winning and people keep packing the stadium. As I said last night, the upside to watching from home is cheaper beer, no lines for the bathroom, and no sunburns!
If you have any questions about how single game tickets or the rewards program will work, let me know in the comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.