SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — The 49ers are considering changes to Levi’s Stadium, after this weekend’s home opener, where fans sweltered in the stands.
Levi’s Stadium is new, modern and largely empty on days when it should full: like when the 49ers play.
It’s a $1 billion, state-of-the-art venue with a major need for more shade.
A photo taken during the home opener of the east side of the stadium showed mostly empty seats. The photo quickly went viral.
The empty seats are a jarring sign of how miserable it’s gotten at Levi’s Stadium.
Fred Santillan, with the 49ers’ Santa Clara booster club, The Gold Rushers chocked it up to the 49ers’ loss.
“We weren’t doing too well,” Santillan said.
It was 13-0 with Carolina in the lead. But it was 91 degrees on the field, according to nflweather.com.
“It was warm and of course when things are not going well on the field, the fans tend to find something else to do,” Santillan said.
Fred and Lisa Santillan should know. They’re co-presidents of the The Gold Rushers and they’ve been longtime season ticket holders.
Lisa Santillan said she thinks fans might have gone to parts of the stadium with air condition and monitors.
Compare that to week one of 2013, the last season at Candlestick Park, when the temperature was a pleasant 66 degrees at kickoff.
“There are a lot of new fans who aren’t used to the temperatures that we have this time of year in football,” Fred Santillan said.
The 49ers were giving out free sunscreen and water to bleached out fans who stayed in their seats.
The team confirmed that they’ve hired architects to see if building some sort of shade or awnings into Levi’s Stadium is feasible.
They can’t go higher because the stadium is in the flight path of Mineta San Jose International Airport.
Winning on the field might solve the problem, but other than that fans might have to just toughen up on early season day games to live up to the moniker “49er faithful.”