class 49ers fans feel priced out of Santa Clara stadium
Team owner Jed York said the franchise decided not to sell seats in the six figures like the Dallas Cowboys, which sold spots in their new stadium for up to $150,000 each even though the 49ers could have done so in this market.
Marc Boatwright remembers 49ers players eating at his family's restaurant in Mountain View when he was a kid a Omega Constellation 27mm
York said he expects to sell out the stadium, and that despite the prices expects it to be packed with "working class families," like at home games in newer stadiums for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants and Jets.
"They seem to think that the average, everyday working person and the older fans don't count anymore," said Boatwright, a 60 year old ice cream business owner. His dad died with tickets in his pocket to the Niners' 1989 Super Bowl, so Boatwright and his brother took their father's ashes to the game. "People I would consider legacy ticket holders are getting screwed," he said.
"There is a balance between how much do you charge and how long people have been with you," York said. "You're never going to satisfy everyone 100 percent, but I think we have the fairest process we could possibly have."
half century ago, and how players would carry him on their shoulders on the field to celebrate wins. But facing $60,000 plus steep ticket costs to keep his pair of seats at the new stadium, he expects to lose the superb spot his family has enjoyed since 1952.
"It's going to cost us more than the first house we bought in 1976. But we love the Niners," said Judy Markline, who since the 1990s has been making the four hour drive to 49ers games with her husband from their Santa Barbara County home in Santa Maria. "Nobody around our seats are buying in nobody. One guy (who sits) behind us said, 'The last game in Candlestick will be the last time I pull for the Niners.' It scares me. Are we going to be the only ones in there?"
Many middle class Niners fans who stuck with the team through its awful stretches now say they are being priced out of the team's forthcoming stadium in Santa Clara. This month, the team assigned current holders of some of its best season tickets 9,000 much costlier club seats in the new stadium and if they don't buy them by March 16, they lose the seats that in many cases have been in their families for generations.
But several fans interviewed for this story spoke of disappointment in their beloved franchise. They thought they had a special bond that transcended the normal relationship between a business and customer.
Bob Kinney, whose family has had great Niners tickets since Kezar Stadium opened in 1946, couldn't afford $160,000 to claim two seats in Santa Clara. But after York personally showed up at a sales meeting as he does a few times a week an impressed Kinney decided to split a pair of $20,000 seats with his four siblings.
Even those who did renew their tickets for the new stadium, like Judy and Charlie Markline did, are wondering how many fans the team will lose in the process.
for the 49ers faithful, but it has become commonplace across the NFL as teams rely on costly personal seat licenses to help finance new stadiums.
"I just don't think the average fan can go. How do you take your kids?" said Langtry, a 54 year old Sunnyvale resident who sells semiconductor equipment. "The tickets have been a big part of my life. And it's suddenly now being ripped away."
40 years of loyalty, Langtry skipped this year's home playoff games for the first time and is considering the unthinkable: switching his allegiance to the hated Oakland Raiders. The problem? Keeping up with the Niners when they move to Silicon Valley is just too expensive, he says.
David Langtry with former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Joe Montana's jersey, at his home Sunnyvale, Calif. on Thursday, January 26, 2012. (LiPo Ching/Staff)David Langtry so cherishes his season tickets for the San Francisco 49ers on the 50 yard line, within shouting distance of the team's bench that he put them in his will for his young daughter.
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Ron Rosberg, who owns the struggling Peninsula furniture store Repo Depo, bought his first 49ers tickets for $5 a pop at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. He now has 18 tickets at or near midfield he sells or gives away the leftovers but expects to give up most if not all of them at the new stadium.
For a spot in the new $1 billion stadium, fans must first pay a one time fee for the rights to a seat club seats range from $20,000 to $80,000 each then buy the actual tickets, which for the club section run $3,250 to $3,750 each season. If they don't pay off the bill by the time the stadium opens in about three years, they'll face 8.5 percent interest payments, too.
"I just think it's a shame," Rosberg, 71, said after walking out of a sales meeting at the team's Santa Clara preview center. "They're really not taking care of the fans. I've been a faithful for 45 years, buying tickets when the team was in the toilet."
But after those prices also went up, he moved to the upper deck, where he said the view proved so awful he sold his tickets for every game last season and decided the best seat was his couch.
"That's what's going to happen to many, many 49ers fans that have been loyal for years," Colburn said. "It's sad that this is what Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Chronograph Gmt sports have come to."
Buddies with four primo seats like Langtry and his brother would need to pay a total of $145,000 to $190,000 to buy new club seats and season tickets over the first five seasons in Santa Clara. Their current seats at Candlestick would cost about $25,800 for a half decade based on next season's ticket prices.
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Fans who can't afford club seats can put down a $500 refundable deposit and get a shot at the remaining 50,000 plus seats in the stadium after season ticket holders currently in Candlestick's upper deck and near the end zones get first crack at them later this year. It's unclear how expensive those seats will be fans will have to buy a license for those seats, as well but those who spent decades working their way toward midfield say they are in no mood to plunk down thousands of dollars for a spot in the nosebleeds.
Greg Colburn, of San Jose, already lived through that. After the Niners installed a small club like area for his front row seats at Candlestick, leading to a price spike, he switched to the eighth row on the 40 yard line.
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