49ers open posh, high-tech stadium in Santa Clara

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49ers open posh, high-tech stadium in Santa Clara
In this Sept. 14, 2014 photo, a fan uses an app on a smartphone to order food and drinks at Levi's Stadium during an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif. If 49ers CEO Jed York realizes his vision, Levi'€™s Stadium will channel Silicon Valley'€™s ingenuity to become known as a technology temple programmed to pamper and connect fans who are more accustomed to being corralled in congested venues with little or no Internet access. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A U.S. flag is presented on the field at Levi's Stadium as Pat Monahan of the music group Train sings the national anthem before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Levi's Stadium is seen during the first half of an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
In this Sept. 14, 2014 photo, fans cheer during an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif. If 49ers CEO Jed York realizes his vision, Levi's Stadium will channel Silicon Valley's ingenuity to become known as a technology temple programmed to pamper and connect fans who are more accustomed to being corralled in congested venues with little or no Internet access. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In this Sept. 14, 2014 photo, a fan uses an app on a smartphone to order food and drinks at Levi's Stadium during an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif. If 49ers CEO Jed York realizes his vision, Levi'€™s Stadium will channel Silicon Valley'€™s ingenuity to become known as a technology temple programmed to pamper and connect fans who are more accustomed to being corralled in congested venues with little or no Internet access. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York demonstrates a new Levi's Stadium mobile app at the offices of VenueNext in Palo Alto, Calif. If York realizes his vision, Levi'€™s Stadium will channel Silicon Valley's ingenuity to become known as a technology temple programmed to pamper and connect fans who are more accustomed to being corralled in congested venues with little or no Internet access. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Fans enter Levi's Stadium before an NFL preseason football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers brings the team together in the locker room following the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Captains of the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles stand a midfield for the coin flip prior to the game at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with Head Coach Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles following the game at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Bruce Ellington #10 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes on an end around during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers fires the team up on the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Anquan Boldin #81 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Quarterbacks Coach Geep Chryst of the San Francisco 49ers talks with Blaine Gabbert #2 and Colin Kaepernick #7 during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Dan Skuta #51 of the San Francisco 49ers pressures Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the game at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula of the San Francisco 49ers talks with Justin Smith #94, Ray McDonald #91 and Ian Williams #93 during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: The San Francisco 49ers special teams gets ready to take the field for the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers makes a reception during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Perrish Cox #20 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates on the field during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 26-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Confetti rains down during the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A groundskeeper drives across the field before the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
People take pictures from the NRG Solar Terrace and green roof before the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. The 27,000 square foot space on the roof features 16 native plants, with over 5,000 square feet of room for hospitality as well. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Mahelly Ferreira unpacks a large pair of scissors to be used in a photo booth before the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York speaks before the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Guests attend a party in the United Club after the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions before the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks before the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh shakes hands with construction workers just before the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Confetti rains down during the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Construction workers stand on each side of the stage and watch the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Construction workers make their way to the ribbon-cutting and opening of Levi's Stadium Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open their new home. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium, which took only about 27 months to build, also will host the NFL Super Bowl in 2016 and other major events. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
FILE - This April 21, 2014 file photo shows the new Levi's Stadium during a preview tour in Santa Clara, Calif. The Pac-12 Conference will announce at a news conference Thursday May 15, 2014, that it is moving the league championship game to the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara, a person familiar with the decision said. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)
Workers install seating at Levi's Stadium during a preview tour Monday, April 21, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The new home of the San Francisco 49ers football team opens in August. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo released by the San Francisco 49ers, the first pieces of turf are installed at the new Levi's Stadium Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif. The installation of 2.5 acres of sod will take two days. The turf will come out in rolls 42 inches wide and will be approximately 100 feet long. The team selected West Coast Turf's Bandera Bermuda for the playing field. The stadium opens in August. The installation began in the north end of the stadium and work its way south. (AP Photo/San Francisco 49ers, Terrell Lloyd)
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BY ANTONIO GONZALEZ

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York got a little teary on his drive to Levi's Stadium on Thursday. His voice cracked while talking about taking his young son to games at the stadium for years to come.

Others had a different reaction upon walking into the building: Wow!

With confetti streaming down under a blue sky, the 49ers officially opened the $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara with a ribbon-cutting ceremony complete with all the opulence of their new home.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, linebacker Patrick Willis and left tackle Joe Staley joined York and others on stage to cut the ribbons.

They used oversized red scissors with gold-colored blades in keeping with team colors. Hard-hat wearing construction workers lined the steps in fluorescent yellow jackets as team employees cheered and a fog horn blared.

"This is a long time in the making," York said.

The stadium's opening put one of the NFL's flagship franchises on firm footing and planted the country's most popular sports league in technology-rich Silicon Valley for the first time.

Goodell called it a milestone for the league. He also added a twist to the ceremony by addressing the looming stadium issue just up the road in Oakland, where the Raiders have long been searching for a replacement to the outdated Coliseum.

Goodell said it's up to the Raiders to decide whether they want to try to build a stadium in Oakland or share the facility at Levi's Stadium with the 49ers - an idea York has never dismissed. Raiders owner Mark Davis has said he doesn't want to be a renter in the 49ers' facility, which is now fitted with red seats and posters of past and present San Francisco greats.

The 49ers' new home will hold about 68,500 fans and has the ability to expand to 75,000 for Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. The facility features 165 luxury suites, 9,000 club seats and even a green roof-top deck that includes solar panels and harvested herbs for on-site food preparation.

Free Wi-Fi will be available at the stadium, and a smartphone application will allow fans to have food delivered to any seat and check waiting lines at concession stands and bathrooms.

"The stadium reflects the greatness of the region, the technology and the innovation," Goodell said.

The seats in the lower bowl will hold some 45,000, or two-thirds of stadium capacity, and will be the largest first level in the NFL. All club levels look out to the field in one direction and the surrounding valley and mountains in another. It's 35 rows up to the first club seating area, while Row 1 of the stadium is about 10 feet off the field.

The only lingering stadium concerns from most 49ers fans involve the traffic in an already congested area and rising ticket prices. And, of course, some are still bitter about the team leaving San Francisco, where the team tried and failed for decades to get a new stadium.

Levi's Stadium, steps away from 49ers' practice facility, is about 45 miles south of downtown San Francisco - the longest distance any team in the league has to the city that bears its name. The 49ers had played in San Francisco since their establishment in 1946, including the last 43 years at Candlestick Park, where the team won all five of its Super Bowl titles.

The whipping wind and cold air from the city's famous fog made conditions constantly change at Candlestick, which is set to be demolished. That's far from the near year-round sunshine - and temperatures that can be 20-25 degrees warmer - in Santa Clara, where most players and coaches already live.

The 49ers will host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the first preseason game at Levi's Stadium on Aug. 17. The first regular-season game will be against Chicago on Sept. 14, a Sunday night.

The first event at Levi's Stadium will be a Major League Soccer game between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders on Aug. 2. Other major events include the Pac-12 championship game, the upgraded San Francisco bowl game - formerly known as the Fight Hunger Bowl - and a regular-season college football game between California and Oregon.

York said the only promise he has not delivered on with the stadium is a Super Bowl title, and he joked with players and coaches in attendance that there's "no pressure, guys." He also said the 49ers will hold a parade on Market Street in San Francisco when - not if - they win another Super Bowl title.

"Now," he said, "it's time to make some new memories in our new home."

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