Wednesday was a big day for the San Francisco 49ers and their new stadium. Slated to open next season, the new stadium still didn’t have a name, until today’s unveiling of ‘Levi’s Stadium.’ $220 million later, Levi Strauss & Co. bought themselves the naming rights for the next 20 years. This is of course a much different process than back in 1959, when Candlestick Park got its name from a fan contest.
That’s right, in 54 years we’ve gone from letting the fans decide on a cool name, to letting corporate America duke it out over naming rights. At least Levi’s Stadium doesn’t sound as horrible as some of these venues with three or four different corporate titles. But regardless of your thoughts on big business, that’s how the process works these days. Companies throw ridiculous money around to have their name on billboards and stadium signs everywhere.
With the naming of the 49ers’ new stadium being one of the last steps in the team’s move, it might also help improve the stadium’s chances of hosting a future Super Bowl. As reported last week, San Francisco is a top candidate to host SB 50, and after Sun Life’s stadium’s renovations were voted down, it seems very likely the big game could be headed to the Bay Area in 2016.
So whether you love or hate the doing away with old fashioned stadiums like Candlestick, you have to admit that new facilities create tremendous earning opportunities for the teams and host cities. I certainly don’t like it, but that’s the way it is.
Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter