Levi's Stadium

49ers, York are about to get the answer they don’t want


49ers, York are about to get the answer they don’t want

The San Francisco 49ers are getting a massive amount of stick for their fan questionnaire in which they asked the seemingly ridiculous question, “How important is winning to your stadium experience?”

As in, “Do you need to ask this at all?”

But it speaks to the state of the business (as opposed to the franchise) that someone thought it needed to be asked. And that someone was probably Jed York.

Remember that Levi’s Stadium is his baby, the object by which he measures his value in the marketplace. Everything about the stadium shrieks his belief that the stadium is a standalone triumph, a multi-event mecca that is its own attraction.

Thus, for him, the question is his way of trying to quantify his core belief -- that the stadium is its own attraction.

Except that (a) he asked 49er fans, whose interest is the football produce rather than the commodious restrooms or luxurious suites. Except that (b) he asked at this fresh nadir in club history, when they have won seven of their last 39 games. Except that (c) most people view the stadium as the place where his football team plays, and he will always be regarded as a football owner, not a venue operator.

That’s why the question seems ridiculous. It’s that York doesn’t really want to be thought of as the football owner because his experience has been fairly unhappy. When the team was good, he was warring with the head coach, to the point where he chose not winning over daily migraines as his preferred option. When the team was bad, people rented planes to slag him.

As a football operator, he isn’t having fun. At all.

So he has the question asked, “Do you love the thing I actually did so much that you’ll ignore the thing that makes me susceptible to fan abuse and migraines?”

He will find that he is about to get the answer he doesn’t want -- that football fans want quality football, first and foremost. And he shouldn’t expect any different. His customer base sat through Candlestick Park for 40-plus years, for God’s sake. They voted with their feet and lungs as well as their wallets, and they’re voting now.

But the 49ers asked the question anyway, because they were hoping for a different answer. What they have gotten is laughter. What they’re going to get is a rebuke from the customers, and a renewed understanding that the future of the empire lies with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan more than with Coldplay tours.

Then again, maybe they get a lot of responses from fans saying, “No, I actually prefer the losing.” In which case this is the best questionnaire ever, and the 49ers are meeting their customers’ needs far more brilliantly than we imagined.

Air quality concerns leave NFL considering alternate sites for Raiders game

Air quality concerns leave NFL considering alternate sites for Raiders game

ALAMEDA – Air quality around the Bay Area hasn’t been good.

Smoke and particulates emanating from the wildfires raging through Napa and Sonoma Counties has created what the Enviornmental Protection Agency considers “unhealthy’ conditions in several parts of the region south of the fire sites.

While these air-quality issues don’t in any way compare to fires affecting residents in the North Bay – at least 29 people have died, with hundreds more missing -- they could impact Sunday afternoon’s football game between the Raiders and Chargers at Oakland Coliseum.

The game game remains set to play as scheduled. For now, at least.

“We continue to monitor air quality conditions in the Bay Area and are in close communication with both the NFL and Chargers, as well as local authorities,” the Raiders said in a statement. “At this point, the game remains scheduled for Sunday in Oakland.”

The NFL echoed that sentiment earlier in the day, though they are exploring alternate sites.

The Raiders don't want to change the date or the site. They'd prefer to stay put, especially considering they've already lost a home game to Mexico City. They play the New England Patriots there in Week 9. 

Enviornmental factors, however, may force the Raiders hand. 

They have a few options, none of them ideal.

The 49ers are on the road this week, leaving Levi’s Stadium  open as an alternative. A league source NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that the NFL has reached out about the prospect of using the Santa Clara venue That would avoid travel stresses accompanied by leaving the market. The problem: that stadium is 33 miles south of Oakland Coliseum, and the air quality there hasn’t been much better than near the Raiders home field.

The Los Angeles Rams are on the road, leaving L.A. Coliseum available as well. San Diego mayor Kevin Falcouner offered to host the game at the venue formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium. The NFL might want to avoid putting the Raiders in their old haunts – the played at the L.A. Coliseum from 1982-94 – or bring the Chargers back to a still-angry San Diego market they left a few months ago.

The Raiders and Chargers can’t swap home games, as the StubHub! Center’s primary tenant, the L.A. Galaxy soccer team, as a game set for Sunday.

Moving the game date to a Monday night in Oakland is also complicating, considering the Raiders host Kansas City the following Thursday night.

The Seattle Seahawks are on a bye, and the game could be moved to CenturyLink Field in a pinch.

The EPA considered Oakland and Alameda air quality “unhealthy” on Wednesday and Thursday, recommending even healthy adults limit heavy exertion. Playing football outdoors would fall into that category, and caused the Raiders to pare their practice schedule on the aforementioned dates.

Michael Crabtree, Jalen Richard and receiver Isaac Whitney wore surgical masks during Thursday’s practice to prevent inhaling contaminants. The situation is not ideal for sport, at least not right now.

It’s difficult to forecast air quality, given unpredictable wind changes and fire patterns. The Raiders and the league should have to make a decision Friday to allow the Raiders and Chargers to change/create travel plans and for site plans to be finalized.

There is precedent for moving an NFL game late. A 2003 Chargers-Dolphins game was moved to Monday might in Arizona just 24 hours before kickoff due to wildfires in the San Diego region. Tickets in Arizona were free, with donations directed toward fire relief, and refunds were given to those who bought tickets for the game as originally scheduled.

Curfew issues make 49ers consider pulling plug on weeknight concerts at Levi's


Curfew issues make 49ers consider pulling plug on weeknight concerts at Levi's

Are the 49ers pulling the plug on weeknight concerts at Levi's Stadium?

That's the message the team sent Thursday as it continued its feud with Santa Clara over the city's noise curfew.

The Coldplay show scheduled for Wednesday is still on, and the band is expected to go past the 10 p.m. deadline. It will be the last scheduled weeknight concert at the stadium until the curfew issue is settled.

After denying the 49ers' initial request to extend the curfew one hour, the City Council reached out to neighbors of Levi's Stadium for their input. Some of those residents said the noise definitely is a problem.