Sure, the San Francisco 49ers have already sold out their inaugural NFL season at the new $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, but that doesn’t mean curious members of the public can’t check out the venue… for a price.
On Wednesday, the team announced that it will offer year-round tours of the 68,500-seat stadium for individuals and private groups starting at $25 for seniors, children and adult resident of Santa Clara, plus a $2.25 ticketing fee. Tours start at $30 (plus the ticket fee) per adult visitor for those who don’t live in Santa Clara.
That’s about what the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium charges for admission. Niners COO Al Guido recently told me that he expects the team to draw at least 200,000 people a year for tours and visits to an on-site football museum.
As I have reported, professional sports teams with lots of cash tied up in expensive player contracts are increasingly looking to diversify their revenue sources. For the 49ers that means: Offering public tours; hosting non-football events to keep Levi’s Stadium active; adding on-site restaurants dreamed up by a Michelin-star chef and rethinking merchandising strategies with the aim of increasing brand loyalty and bolstering retail sales.
“Levi’s Stadium was designed to be an attractive year-round destination, and our tour program will highlight those areas while giving 49ers fans exclusive access we can’t provide on gamedays,” Guido said in a statement announcing the public tour offering.
The 49ers already have a website up and running for tours and note that visitors can tack on an extra $10 to the tour fee to get access to the stadium museum as well. The tour webpage redirects potential customers to Ticketmaster, which currently shows tours beginning in November 2014 after the end of the NFL’s regular season.
In keeping with the luxury bent on the construction of the new stadium — which is loaded with corporate sponsor lounges, luxury boxes and club seats — the team is also accepting deposits “to establish priority” for 2014 private group tours.
The team’s website promises “the ultimate VIP treatment” for groups of 20 people or more people willing to plunk down an initial $100 deposit. The site doesn’t reveal a total price tag for the group tours but notes that a sales representative will contact those who pay the initial fee.
In addition to the various high-end tour offerings, the site also has a section devoted to those looking to book private events like weddings, holiday parties or corporate meetings at the stadium (which redirects to the same page asking for a $100 deposit with no additional pricing info). Guido told me he expects that channel to generate another 200,000 visitors to the venue.
In the meantime, you can learn more here about the 1.85 million square-foot stadium, from its rooftop garden to the football field itself. Click here for a by-the-numbers breakdown of the upgrades at the venue, like its 2,700 TVs.