Yesterday I wrote a little about my frustration with Levi’s. I wish there was more focus on the simple aspects of the fan experience:
First, can I get to the game easily, meaning is it affordable and are their good public transit options? Second, can I watch the game comfortably? Third, is it easy to get food, use the restroom, and generally get around?
These are issues that the Yorks either did not think about or tried to be too cute with. I think the focus was somewhere else, namely: how can we have a really cool stadium that does all these really cool things? As opposed to the basics.
For example, while food lines are bad at every stadium, getting food at Levi’s is a maddening experience. The lines are nuts. Every one of them! Maybe because there are 900 different items at 899 different stands, so there’s no streamlining. On Sunday, with the stadium 60% full, the pizza line looked like it would take an hour, so we got in a different line. We still missed a quarter of football to get fish and chips, even those we specifically chose that line because it was the shortest! A quarter of football! That’s nuts! I missed like 3 fumbles!
I know it’s a cheap complaint (“lines are long, waaahhhh!”) but this was one of the things the team was claiming would be solved through the technological wonders inside Levi’s. This was it! The food thing! “It’s going to be really easy to get your food because so many people will be ordering to their seats with robot butlers and we have technology to tell when lines are long so we can move employees around and open up a second pizza line.”
To their credit, there are some good things happening at Levi’s. Light rail to and from the stadium was relatively simple (still took an hour to go 10 miles each way, but that’s not their fault). Sight lines are great. AV in the stadium was very good. Bathroom lines were non-existent. There are some positives.
The concourse though: here’s an example of just fix the simple things. The open concourses need major work. It’s a fight to get to where you want to go. Maybe some of the food lines should have been put on the outer ring, since it’s not like you can see the game from the lines anyway.
Here’s another part of the concourse issue: the Niners have decided to sell general admission tickets, where you stand in the concourse and watch the game. They also have cordoned-off sections for the elite ticket buyers. Near section 144, this squeezes the passageway from 25 feet wide to maybe 6 to 8 feet. And it’s a total bottleneck where you’re turning sideways to get through, shuffling like a crab to make it. So yes, they built this stadium with open concourses, but then they decided to compress it from both sides to make it as crowded as any other old stadium. So what was the point?
We have some friends who recently moved into a new smart home, meaning they can control their lights by talking to Alexa and turn off the blender when they are at the airport or whatever. Their house has all these cool features. It’s a gorgeous home with tall ceilings and nice windows. But, you also can’t turn on one of the lights without using your phone. And there are huge kids toys in the hallway, turning the spacious feel into an obstacle course. That’s Levi’s.
It can be improved, though. If I had the Yorks’ ears, which I obviously don’t because no one reads this, I would tell them to do 3 things, which I hope to write about this week or next.