The San Francisco 49ers return to Levi's Stadium for their second regular season game in the new digs. The 49ers home opener came in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. San Francisco got off to a strong start in that game, and that allowed the crowd to get into it early. However, penalties and a shoddy second half performance took the crowd out of it.
The day after the game, Jim Harbaugh talked about how the crowd was good at times, but also could be improved. He's a big proponent of getting better each day, and if you're not getting better, you're getting worse. And that was most definitely the case for the home opener.
The most negative thing I could point out was how much of the middle of the lower bowl was absent for a sizable chunk of the game. That section is right in front of a really nice club area. A lot of people spent a lot of time inside the club, enjoying the many amenities of the new stadium. On the one hand, I don't blame people for wanting to take in everything. There is a lot to the new stadium, and when you've just dropped five figures for the opportunity to check it out, you're probably going to spend some time checking things out.
The key now is people getting out into their seats and making some noise. This is a new stadium, so it is hard to tell for certain yet just what kind of crowd the 49ers can expect week-to-week. The stadium will have plenty of previous fans, but as we saw early on with AT&T Park up in San Francisco, there will also be a corporate element to the crowd. That corporate element can be plenty into the game, but there will also be some folks who are there because it's the hip thing to do, and it is as much about being seen. Steph wrote about that issue early on at AT&T Park, but it also improved as these new fans became more attuned with the game action.
The 49ers were at practice this week, and it sounds like they are preparing for some decent crowd noise:
I wonder if we can expect to see an influx of Eagles fans for this game. There were not a lot of Bears fans in Week 2, as far as I can recall, but Philly fans travel fairly well, and are spread out across the country to some extent. Fans are unloading tickets to some games in order to help offset the cost of the SBLs and season tickets. I've heard several folks saying the Seahawks game is how they'll make a chunk of their money back. This Eagles game could be another one where people sold tickets in advance, particularly before the recent struggles. It's tough to say for certain, so we'll see what Sunday brings. This is a new experience for the 49ers and their fans. It's a new stadium with new things to figure out on a weekly basis.