SANTA CLARA (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers are unlikely to host weeknight games at new Levi’s Stadium next year in the inaugural season of the venue, a person with direct knowledge of the stadium project said Thursday.
That would mean no appearances on “Monday Night Football” or in a Thursday night game at Santa Clara next season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL schedule isn’t released until spring and no decisions have been formally announced by the league or the team.
Part of the thinking, the person said, is to give everyone from stadium operations personnel, law enforcement, local businesses, other support services and parking facilities time to get accustomed to traffic flow and other challenges. The first season in the $1.2 billion stadium will be a work in progress.
The 49ers will leave Candlestick Park, where they have played since 1971, after this season for the new stadium at team headquarters in Silicon Valley. Traffic in the heavily occupied area of businesses, residential housing and large corporations and technology companies makes for clogged surface streets and freeways for much of the day. While every NFL team plays a Thursday night game, San Francisco is bound to do so outside the Bay Area in 2014.
The 49ers will certainly have many potential problems resolved by the time the stadium hosts the 50th Super Bowl in February 2016.
The plan has been for Candlestick Park to be imploded sometime next year.
The San Jose Mercury News first reported that the team would have to take its prime-time show on the road during the week next year.