SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — After years of losing millions of dollars hosting the Pacific-12 Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers announced Friday they were opting out as host for the 2020 game.
In a joint statement, the league and the NFL club said: “The Pac-12 Conference and Levi’s Stadium have agreed to opt out of the final year (2020) of the agreement to hold the Pac-12 Championship Game at the venue.”
Hours later, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority released financial data revealing non-NFL football games at Levi’s Stadium have proven to be money losers with losses ranging from $2-3 million dollars a year.
“Based on this history, losses are anticipated to be in the same range for the most recent Pac-12 Championship Game held in November 2018 and will likely be the case for the upcoming game to be held in 2019 at the stadium,” the stadium authority said in a press release.
The 49ers could have opted out of the 2019 game also, but declined to do so.
City officials said they were not notified about the 49ers decision, but supported the move.
“It is worth noting that prior to this announcement by the PAC-12 Conference, the Stadium Authority Executive Director Deanna J. Santana suggested to the 49ers that they consider not hosting this money-losing event in future years,” the release said.
Unlike the Big 10 and SEC championship games, the Pac-12 version has been slow in gaining popularity. The high water mark for the game was 2015 showdown between Stanford and USC that drew over 58,000 fans. Last year’s Washington-Utah game had just 35,000 fans.
League officials gave no indication on Friday where the 2020 would be played or the candidates to host the contest.