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I Root for the laundry” – Jerry Seinfeld

Candlestick Park

Are you a 49er season ticketholder?  A sports fan in general?  Does your team honor your loyalty and dedication?  Perhaps some teams should treat their fans as they would treat their fans and not as deep pockets.  I love my 49ers and will probably find a way to see an occasional game in the new stadium but as someone who has been going to games as a season ticketholder for almost 40 years, I’ve found that my loyalty is finally being disrespected.  I now see how the Cleveland and Baltimore fans had owners who took their teams away from them.  One should read “Field of Schemes” which details how the stadiums are taking public money to in turn to create private profits.

With the new PSLs at a cost of $80K/seat the San Francisco 49ers are requesting to renew my friendship, I am wondering if others feel the same.

It is the eve of the biggest game of the 49ers in over a decade and I’m upset and bothered.  Why? Because the team I have rooted for my whole life is betraying the trust and faith built over my lifetime.  Greed, the lack of understanding of community, and then poor communication.

Many of the memories I had as a season ticketholder of the 49ers are about to start fading away.  My season tickets have been in my family for over 40 years and that might end soon.  What kind of fan am I?  I don’t paint my face or tailgate in the parking lot.  I wear my Joe Montana jersey for big games.  I’ve stuck with the 49ers through thick and thin.  I stuck through coaches named Fred Meyers and his 2-14 seasons.  I watched the team win 5 Championships. I watched the team fall back to earth with more 2-14 seasons. And now I’ve watched them grow again in what so far has been a wonderful season.

Over the years, some things have changed. The elderly people who baked cookies for me have passed away.  Many of the young kids who attended the games with their dads are now bringing their children, and some new people have moved in as the prices increased.  The stadium has gotten older and there is no disputing that the team needs a new stadium.

Yesterday a young rep called me because I had no responded to a request to meet with the ticketing personnel to discuss buying a Personal Seat License.  I had received a package the week before, but was not ready to review the contents.  I had heard rumors that the team was asking for $80,000 per seat for my seat license.  Were they kidding?  How could they expect someone to put up $160K (basically the same price as the average home in the US).  The 49ers are trying to move their stadium another 40 minutes South of San Francisco.  What their team does not understand is this not only moves the team further away from the core of the Bay Area, but it also moves it further away from the people who will support the team (affectionately known as the Faithful).  They are telling me traffic will be better, yet it will take another 2 hours out of my day.

The previous five seasons the team has disappointed without a winning season yet raaising my tickets 300% from $60 to $180 each.  By 2015, the team wants to charge me $375/ seat.  At the same time, the team has never called me until yesterday.  They have weeded out those who could not afford to keep the price increases and make it harder every year to renew.  The new seat license is an obvious ploy that should weed out the last of the great 49ers Faithful.  The lowest price is roughly $20K each.  The 49ers cannot expect to make sales at these prices and those that buy will surely not be happy when others do not pay the same.

Corporations are thriftier than ever and will not be able to fill the stadium alone.  Seriously, is Larry Ellison, one of the 5 wealthiest men in the world going to purchase a PSLs for his employees?  Is Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook going to buy a PSL?  How about Jerry Yang of Yahoo?  If they do try and fill the stadium with corporate money, the 49ers will find a very fickle fan base that did not grow up here.  Over 60% of the population was not even raised in the state of California (meaning they grew up likely rooting for another team).  The Bay Area, especially Silicon Valley is made up of a transient population that is constantly moving.  My son’s kindergarten class seven years later only has 5 kids out of 36 that root for the 49ers.

How do the 49ers expect such rates?  Just 3 years ago the Jets and Giants sold PSLs.  The Giants charged anywhere from $1k-$20K.  Now $20K is the lowest end of the pricing? The Jets were only able to get 300 people to bid at least $5K.  The Cowboys charged $50K on the high end and did not sell out.  The Steelers are supposedly the best PSLs but they sold for a couple thousand a piece and are supposedly worth around $15K now.  But Pittsburgh is different.  People there live and die by the Steelers.  The San Francisco Bay area is full of alternative activities on Sundays.  Oh, and they don’t spend $60K a year to send their kids to go to school in Pittsburgh.  My feeling is that @49ers season ticketholders should hold out until the market corrects itself.  The prices the 49ers are asking are exhorbitant and need to change.  Take a look at what happened with other teams and PSLs:

Here is a blog on Cowboys PSLs at $50K but up to $150K

Here is info on the Giants and Jets costs at $1k-$20K

Here’s an old article speculating on the 49ers PSLs

You can buy a 50 yard line Seattle Seahawk PSL for $10K

It is really sad that many people will lose their money and their team because of greed.  In me the 49ers will likely lose my revenue as a fan in the stdium.  I will support the laundry and the people who wear it, but I will not be a fan of management.  unfortunately, the tradition of attending football games with my son will be ending soon for many in the Bay Area.  I will just have to be more committed to baseball and the San Francisco Giants.

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I am asking any 49ers STHs to consider holding out on the 49ers before paying for a seat license.  There is no guarantee that the 49ers will be around just because of the stadium  You will own nothing in the case of an earthquake, etc.  There will still be ample opportunity to see an occasional game.  The 49ers will just have to mrket harder to get the Faithful to show up every week.  They better hope the team stays strong or else they will see how Unfaithful their new fans are.  Ed Debartolo is the greatest owner that ever lived.  Many called him a player’s owner, but he was a fan’s owner.  He was the original Mark Cuban.  His nephew is nowhere close in my eyes.

Did I mention that the stadium’s cost of $1 Billion will be at the expense of $150MM from the NFL and an $850MM loan from the city of Santa Clara and its taxpayers who will likely go bankrupt from this decision and are wanting to change their minds.  The PSLs are going to pay off part of that loan.  I’m not going to fall down that black hole.

I love my 49ers, but all I want is a winning team.  I’m sure this new stadium is beautiful and will be a huge upgrade, but it is costing more than $1 billion.  It is costing my loyalty to the game day experience.  I hope there will come a better solution that will still allow me to send my children to college and along the way still allow me to afford to attend a few 49er games.

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