The new home of the San Francisco 49ers and Super Bowl 50 might be 40 miles south of San Francisco, but it epitomizes the innovation, cuisine and culture for which the city is famous. The stadium ranks among the most, if not the most, technologically and environmentally advanced stadiums ever built. Even if you aren’t rooting for the red and gold come September, read on for a look at the most exciting new digs in all of sports.
Walking into the $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium, you’re immediately struck by how massive and dramatic yet surprisingly intimate the new venue is. Its airy, Roman amphitheater-style design features the biggest lower bowl in the NFL (45,000 seats), and the first row is just 10 feet from the field, bringing fans close to the action. But the most talked about aspect of the stadium’s design is its sustainable features. Levi’s is the first stadium in the country to boast LEED Gold certification and was designed for net zero energy performance, which means each 49ers home game will be completely powered by the year-round collection of solar energy. Covered with hundreds of solar panels, three solar bridges connect the stadium with the parking lot; reclaimed building products were used where possible; the field’s Bandera Bermuda turf grass requires up to 50 percent less water than average turf varieties in the Bay Area; and 85 percent of all water used at the stadium will be recycled. Perhaps most impressive, a living roof made up of two and a half acres of sod with local plant species covers the nine-story suite tower.
With its Silicon Valley location, it’s no surprise that the stadium is widely considered a technological marvel. It is simply the most connected stadium out there thanks to a high-capacity network, in-stadium antenna system and more than 400 miles of data cables. The resulting bandwidth is more than 40 times larger than any U.S. stadium, allowing for smooth and uninterrupted use of the Stadium App. Use the app to order food for express pickup or direct delivery to any seat in the house, get information on line wait times for concession or restroom trips and watch instant hi-def video replays of every down. Of course you can also watch replays on the two giant scoreboards, the largest in any outdoor arena. Each big screen measures 48 feet tall and 200 feet wide and uses more than 280 trillion colors.
The Bay Area does food like no other place in the world, and the options at Levi’s Stadium don’t disappoint. The farm-to-table menus feature the most diverse food options in the NFL and the most vegan and vegetarian items in the entire sports industry. The 40 vegetarian options (32 of which are vegan) include Portobello mushroom and barbecue jackfruit sandwiches, beat salads and vegan franks. Specialty and international items like Indian curries and Asian steamed buns are also on the menu. Even the standard fare like garlic fries, chicken tenders and burgers (American Kobe beef served on Le Boulanger buns with sun-dried tomato ketchup and house-made mustard) are locally sourced. In fact, 85 percent of all food products come from California and 78 percent from within 150 miles of the stadium.
Levi’s Stadium isn’t just home to the 49ers. An impressive art collection of over 200 original pieces and more than 500 photographs pays tribute to the history of the team as well as the Bay Area arts community. Twenty of the 23 artists showcased hail from California, and mediums include acrylic, charcoal, oil and metal sculpture. You might find portraits of 49er legends dating back to the 1940s alongside California landscapes, abstract contemporary works and charcoal sketches celebrating local figures like Steinbeck and Kerourac. No other multi-use stadium in the world features such a diverse collection of original artwork. Levi’s Stadium is also home to a 20,000-square-foot 49ers museum with 11 gallery and exhibit spaces, over 150 artifacts and of course, the five Lombardi trophies.
By the Numbers:
- 75,000 tons of steal used to build the stadium
- 68,500 seats, including 176 luxury suites and 9,000 club seats
- $15 million spent on scoreboard screens
- 8,000 workers constructed the stadium
- 1,186 solar panels used
- 400 kilowatts supplied by high-efficiency energy solar panels
- 800 concession points of sale
- 30 minutes to remove NFL’s first collapsible field goal posts
- 15,000 hours spent on seat installation
- 3,600 square-foot locker room
- 10 feet high walnut-wood players' lockers
- 1,620 toilets