If there’s one significant takeaway from the 49ers/Levi’s press conference today, it’s this: the “SF” on the Niners’ helmet remains a very strong symbol.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee deflected a question about the stadium being in Santa Clara instead of the city proper, talking about moving forward with the stadium as a regional solution. But it was 49ers owner Jed York and Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh who repeatedly emphasized the historical ties between the 49ers and the City, going back to the Gold Rush days. It’s a brand synergy that can only be borne of history, one that may not have been possible if the 49ers dropped the “SF” on the way south. This affirms Levi’s position as a strong sponsor of San Francisco teams – first with the Giants in 2006. That deal, which featured the prime arcade wall (replacing Gap’s Old Navy) marked the start of a growing presence in the sports world for Levi Strauss. Previously under the Haas family, Levi’s sports presence wasn’t nearly as large even though Wally Haas owned the A’s. So it’s somewhat ironic that Levi’s aggression in the market came after the Haases gave up prominent leadership roles in company, the company choosing to go with outsiders (Bergh is from Proctor & Gamble, Phil Marineau came from Pepsi) as debt and a changing market threatened the company’s very existence.
Bergh also mentioned off-hand that the scoreboards, on which enormous Levi’s logos will be placed, will be 190 feet long. That’s 10 feet longer than the frame I informally measured a couple weeks ago. Interestingly, the logo may be slightly taller than the rim of upper deck. Couple that with the gaps in the upper seating bowl, and the logo should be plainly visible for miles around, especially at night when it is lit up.
At $220 million over 20 years, the revenue the 49ers and Santa Clara Stadium Authority will realize is very solid, behind only MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. That stadium is home to two teams. It’s less than the in-limbo Farmers Field deal, but that was also for two teams and would’ve involved more uses as a retractable domed facility. All in all, Levi’s is setting the bar for the Bay Area, including new venues for the Raiders in Oakland, Warriors in SF, and the A’s deal with Cisco. Cisco’s deal, negotiated in 2006, was for $4 million per year over 30 years in Fremont. The argument that the A’s should get more with a San Jose ballpark is only strengthened by the news of the Levi’s Stadium deal.
The 49ers and Levi Strauss have scheduled a 11 AM press conference outside the jeansmaker’s San Francisco headquarters. While both sides are mum for now, multiple outlets are reporting that during the presser the two parties will announce a naming rights deal for the 49ers’ Santa Clara stadium.
According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Lauren Hepler, the City of Santa Clara, which has to approve the naming rights terms, will make those terms public at 4 PM today. The City Council/Stadium Authority Board is expected to discuss the terms in a special session tomorrow.
The presser will be streamed at 49ers.com/live at 11. This post will be updated as appropriate.
Update 10:45 AM – The Mercury News’ Mike Rosenberg has tweeted that the deal is $220 million over 20 years.