Well, I have now had a night’s sleep and had a chance to reflect on my experience watching the first sporting event at the Levi’s Stadium, the new home to the 49rs. I know I was experiencing the first “trial run” of the stadium going into this. But it was such as terrible experience all around, I felt I had to share my experience in detail. Maybe this will help at least one other person have a great experience when attending future events there.
Was going to give the complete experience a D+ (from A being best, F being worst), but gave it a C- since San Jose Earthquakes beat the Seattle Sounders.
1. Take Light rail in, but leave game early to catch one before the HUGE line builds up. If possible, I would have friend drop you off and pick you up at Togos near the stadium.
2. Only bring very small clear bag/purse. If you have anything bigger, like any street thug, security will take the bag from you upon entering. ALL PURSES will be taken. Unlike street thugs, you will get your item back.
3. If you’re a vegan/vegetarian, I recommend you eat a full meal before coming. Food quality was poor and over-priced. If you’re a meat eater, not sure if food was much better.
4. If you do order food, order on the Levi’s App and have it delivered to your seat. Not sure how long this will take, but worth it.
My detailed experience
1. VTA Parking Lot
Decided to park at i-880 lot and pre-pay $23 for spot. Felt duped – only $15 cash upon arrival – lot was basically empty. First loss – before entering stadium – $8.
2. Light Rail
For some reason, didn’t feel tons of people would take it. Once again, surprised. VTA train – every seat was takens, so we had to stand the whole way in. Not a big deal – just another annoyance.
3. Seeing Stadium
Loved seeing new stadium from the outside. It’s glorious and inviting.
4. Getting into Stadium with black pack, any backpack, purse, camera bag.
Not going to happen. Nothing printed on ticket about this. Waited in line for 20 minutes to check in backpack. SUPER ANNOYED. VTA didn’t warn about this either. Turns out 49r tickets will be printed with this, but not Earthquake tickets. Very sloppy, as no one who worked there seemed to know this was coming. Very disorganized. I feared what would happen upon exiting. My fears were realized in a few hours.
5. Buying first food
Very easy but expensive as I though. Water, Vegan Dog, MMs, Garlic Fries – $26.50
6. Getting to seats
For some reason with the billions they spent on this stadium, they ran out of money to paint the section number at the top of the stairs. They had them on the wall, but it wasn’t clear at all. I’m sure they fill the couple thousand dollars and paint that shortly. I was in wrong section for first 15 minutes – until I went out and came back in and second usher knew where I was seated.
7. Getting food for 2nd time
Well, I had purchased really good VIP tix. Didn’t know all food was in clubhouse and I could get food super easy. So, Jordan Smith and I ordered food on app to get the super cool “Express” line check out. Wow – most messed up part of the night. We left our seats at 645 pm. Jordan got back to his seat at 725 pm (as I sent him back while waiting in line). I got back to my seat around 750 pm – just in time to watch first kick. Missed National Anthem and Skydivers.
8. More about standing in “Express” line
There was absolutely no advantage to standing in this line. There was only one person (I would have expected 3 people hustling for us “priority” people.) We watched as the guy next to us – not in priority line – almost got his food before us. We were one person ahead of him. And don’t dare try to add on a beer, or snack. Register only checks you in for food you prepaid for.
9. Food Quality
Never thought I say this, but I know realize how good the service and food quality is at McDonald’s. Not that I’ve eaten there for 15+ years, but 49rs need to hire them as a consultant. Except for the Dasani water and french fries, it was some of the worst food I’ve had in a long time. I’m sure you could agree Phil and Catherine. I didn’t have non-vegan food, so I’m curious if that was as bad quality.
10. Food Variety
Was cool to see Vegan Dogs, BBQ Jackfruit, and Vegan Buns. Well, the BBQ Jackfruit (which took 30 mins to get in line) was okay, but the bun was over cooked and tasted stale. The Vegan dogs (how can you mess these up?) was overcooked and hard.
11. The Game
The game was awesome and fun. Went smoothly and the last placed Earthquakes kicked Seattle Sounders butt. You would have thought they were tied for first place. Love that game was one 1-0 – first game in new stadium.
12. Leaving the stadium (picking up my backpack)
We left 5 mins before end of game, thinking to get a jump on getting inline for Light Rail only to be confronted by A HUGE LINE waiting to retrieve bags. People were cursing, jumping the line, stating there were terrorists and generally pissed off. 30-40 minutes, later, I got my backpack.
13. Catching Light Rail
So, finally, we’re were ready for a nice relaxing ride to our car. Not so much. Over a thousand people were now in line for the light rail, due to our delay. Jordan and I decided to walk the 3.3 miles to our card. Took over an hour.
14. Final Grade
Jordan and I discussed this and we wanted to give the evening’s experience a D+. But, since the EQs won the game, we decided to give it a C-.
I’m sure 49r fans won’t put up with any of the bullshit we experienced and will surely make their voices heard. Biggest annoyance – I’m sure people will know NOT to bring anything but a clear, small bag for stuff. Would be great for entrepreneurs to make clear purses with 49r log.
Normally, I would look to get a refund for the experience, but wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Bottom line, though, had fun doing all this with my buddy Jordan – who generally had a positive attitude about things.