Tucked away on the 5th floor of the Tech Mart building in Santa Clara are some business offices of the San Francisco 49ers. Season ticket holders are being invited to come to the location, sit in a mock stadium suite and are offered a chance to purchase a lifetime Personal Seat License to the new stadium.
While some may grumble at the new business model being adopted around the National Football League, the opportunity presented by the 49ers is well worth the price of admission. The Raiders PSL debacle was predicated on the license being good for only 10 years; this is a lifetime purchase with the right to sell and transfer—a much better deal.
Previously, those of us who had season ticket rights were offered up to $10,000 for those rights during the heyday of the 49ers in the late 80s and early 90s. At one time the 49ers maintained a waiting list of thousands seeking to purchase season tickets.
That changed along with the team’s fortunes. There were years we couldn’t give tickets away. The key is the product on the field and the experience of the live game. Candlestick, as a venue, was never a draw.
For current season ticket holders, the new stadium is like being offered an IPO. There’s no guarantee that the stock will rise, but given the success of AT&T Park, the current progress of the 49ers under Jed York and Jim Harbaugh, the amenities offered at the new stadium—including the right to buy other events first, and the commitment of this ownership to get us a sixth ring, chances are the PSL prices will increase in value, not decrease.
So we went to the sales presentation and were treated to a digital view from our new seats. We could request an upgrade, but with no guarantees. The new padded seats are available to sit in—they’re far more comfortable than the hard plastic seats at Candlestick, the aisles will be wider, the view unobstructed and, yes, there will be cup holders. Concessions will be upgraded and easily accessible, more women’s bathrooms will be found and the weather is expected to be much better in Santa Clara than Candlestick Point.
Ticket prices are guaranteed for three years and financing is available, but the general public will not be given a chance to purchase tickets until August. Meanwhile, all current season ticket holders have the ability to get the same view as their current seat at Candlestick.
There will be ample parking and light rail is anticipated to bring in 30 percent of the crowd, limiting traffic. Oh yeah, there will be 40,000 parking spaces within walking distance to the stadium.
Most importantly, the team is dedicated to getting another Super Bowl ring. The Jim Harbaugh 49ers are poised to make a run this year, having been in the Championship game last year. As a good sign of things to come, friends, colleagues and ticket brokers are already calling to see if any of my current tickets are available.
Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley and die-hard Raiders fan. OK, maybe he’s a Niners fan.