As the Santa Clara/San Francisco/South Bay/Silicon Valley Super Bowl approaches, here’s an interesting read about Santa Clara University’s huge influence on the San Francisco 49ers at Santa Clara Magazine by Ann Killion. The team was started by a SCU grad who chose the team’s colors: red for SCU and gold for the gold rush. Their first coach was Buck Shaw (the legendary SCU football coach), they had a number of SCU players on their early teams (and also Brent Jones!), and now they play in the city of Santa Clara.
On the other hand, the Niners also almost killed SCU’s football program in the 50s, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara–while beautifully constructed by an SCU grad-led company–is also perceived by many people as the biggest symbol of the 49ers downward slide into a money-first organization.
About Levi’s: I think it’s a beautiful stadium, and I love that we have a pro football team in the South Bay, but it’s not a football-first project, for better or for worse. I love the technological touches that help fans connect with the game on the field, and I hate the bells and whistles that take away from attention on the game. I took Communication and Sport class on a tour of Levi’s in Fall 2014. Our tour guide took us through the suite tower while telling us about all the lounges: “And this is our Yahoo! Fantasy Football Lounge…so let’s say you’re at the game and you’re wondering how your fantasy football team is doing. You can come in here and watch all the other games and check out the ticker.” Why? Why would I pay $300 bucks for tickets and $50 for parking and $25 for a vegan BBQ jackfruit quinoa burger and then not watch the game? When you cater to those types of fans, you get a poor stadium experience for all the other fans and the home team.
On the other hand, we now have a world class stadium in the South Bay that can host things like the Super Bowl, huge concerts, big-name soccer matches, and more. And the jackfruit burger wasn’t too bad.