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49ers New Stadium: Opening A Year Earlier Than Planned?

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting the San Francisco 49ers are in the process of getting together a financial plan that could result in their new Santa Clara stadium being ready to go by the start of the 2014 season. Previously the team had indicated a 2015 opening, but now the hope is to get shovels in the ground by late next year and be ready for 2014.

The biggest issue remains financing. The land is figured out, particularly with the recent purchase of the nearby Six Flags, but paying for this high nine figure project is the biggest concern. The team has been selling luxury suits and apparently done quite well with them, which is a solid first step. Arguably the more crucial step comes this January when the team will put 60,000 personal seat licenses up for sale.

PSLs and stadium naming rights will be two of the key financing components. In a down economic time, it will be interesting to see how much success they have in making these two elements happen. Naming rights might not be too difficult given the number of high profile Silicon Valley companies in the region. The New York Giants/Jets stadium took some time to get a deal done, but I think the 49ers would have an easier time.

On the other hand, personal seat licenses are always tricky given that it is often equated by fans to "purchasing the right to make another purchase." Given the economy, it will take some savvy marketing to make it happen. However, if the team is confident it can make those sales, there is no reason not to think they can't make this happen by 2014.