The San Francisco 49ers will move into Levi's Stadium this fall, which means we will see some changes in how things operate for the fan experience. On Tuesday evening, the Santa Clara City Council voted on and approved a set of rules for fan behavior in and around the new stadium. The San Jose Mercury News has the full list of rules, but I figured I'd point out a few that are either bizarre, or at least mildly entertaining.
It is worth noting that for the rules, the Santa Clara police chief reportedly said the department "can use leniency when enforcing some of the laws." Given the nature of some of these, I have to think leniency will be important.
Among other things, you are not allowed to bring in any animals, except for guide dogs. My favorite part was the reference to "birds, fish, reptiles or animals." I'm sure a lawyer went over this with a fine-toothed comb. I'm not entirely sure why someone might bring a snake or a turtle or any other sort of animal in, but the stadium will not allow it!
They are saying no air horns, bugles, powered megaphones, drums or other noise-making devices unless stadium officials approve. Various stadiums have fans playing drums or any other instruments to fire up the crowd. The 49ers have the Niner Noise group as their official drumline, so I suppose this isn't that big a deal.
Here are a some of the prohibitions for outside in the parking lot:
- No "vehicle training," playing sports -- including football -- bicycling or skateboarding in the parking lots
- No tailgating in unauthorized areas; it's up to the parking lot owners to approve tailgating, and the team says tailgating will be allowed in more than half the lots
- No free parking - I'm not really sure how this works exactly.
- No taking up more than one space in the parking lot; there are higher fees and special spaces for RVs and other huge vehicles
- No messing with the parking space next to yours - umm, ok?
- No music or any noise that can be heard from more than 50 feet away
- No lingering in parking lots during specific events in which officials close the lots during the events
- No selling food, drinks or anything else unless you're an authorized business, and no seeking employment or begging for money - we'll see how long this one lasts
- No beer kegs. No glass containers unless it's for prescribed medication
The first one amuses me. I'm guessing that means parents cannot take their teenagers to Levi's Stadium to learn how to drive a manual transmission?
The whole notion of no football in the parking lot is a little odd. Fans have been playing sports in parking lots for as long as I can remember. My guess is this will be a rule that has some leniency, because if not, that seems a little much. I also imagine the music issue will be tough to enforce. If you have multiple speakers in different tailgates across a span of the parking lot, how can you tell where one ends and the next begins?
I get the need for rules, but some of these are either tough to enforce, or likely to be broken frequently. The move into Levi's Stadium as a whole is going to be interesting. While the team is not pricing out all their fans with the move, the high price of SBLs and tickets is likely to lead to a more corporate atmosphere. I think there will see be plenty of rowdy fans that will make for some kind of home field advantage, but I think it ends up less than at Candlestick Park.
It would be nice to have a CLink or Arrowhead type of atmosphere, but in the need to pay for this monster of a stadium, I imagine certain sacrifices had to be made. I mention this in large part because of the fact that this is a California stadium. The 49ers are not in a position to benefit from huge public subsidies in paying for this stadium because California has not been in a position to provide that. It's one reason the 49ers ability to get this stadium built is all the more noteworthy.