SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — Safety and security will be a big concern Saturday when the San Francisco 49ers host the Minnesota Vikings for the team’s first-ever playoff game at Levi’s Stadium.
It has been five years since the 49ers moved into Levi’s Stadium, but Saturday will mark the Niners’ first post-season game in the South Bay.
“I’m excited, 24-7 excited. I’ll be there all day long,” said Ken Hanke, a 49ers Fan from San Francisco who traveled to Santa Clara to buy more Niners gear from the team store at Levi’s Stadium.
Fans have been loading up on T-shirts and jerseys, hoping to cheer the team on and punch a ticket to the NFC Championship.
“I’m excited for the 49ers to win on Saturday! 13 and 3 baby!” said Aly Cardenas, a 49ers fan from Guadalupe on California’s Central Coast.
The game is officially sold out and the 49ers expect 70,000 people to pack the stadium. They’ll see the end zones painted red and sporting the old 49ers saloon style font for the first time since their last playoff game at Candlestick.
“So that’s held back for the playoffs. It is. It was always one of those things that made you know when the playoffs are here,” said Jim Mercurio of the 49ers front office.
The playoffs are also putting an extra focus on security.
Santa Clara Police will have extra officers in the stands, some will be in uniform, some will in team jerseys.
“What a lot of fans won’t see is all the layers of security that are happening that are not clear to see, meaning officers not in uniform. Officers that are in fan attire,” said Santa Clara Police Capt. Waheed Kazem.
The security team says fans behaving badly will be ejected or arrested.
“There’s zero tolerance, if you act up in a manner inconsistent with our fan code of conduct, you’re
going to go home,” Mercurio said.
It’s quickly counting down to what the players do on the field. In the locker room on Thursday, they are trying to stay relaxed and focused.
“The beauty of our last few games is that they have been like playoff atmosphere. So even though a lot of guys haven’t played in the playoffs, they have played in a playoff-type game,” said 49ers guard Ben Garland.