Does the New 49ers Stadium Mean the Death of Real Bay Area Football?

With the offical debut of the Levi’s Stadium, the Santa Clara arena that will host the San Francisco 49ers now that Candlestick Park has been left to drown in the fog — or, actually, to be scheduled for demolition late this year — the questions are already turning to whether or not the Oakland Raiders will be following their regional rivals after their lease expires, and shouldn’t the Niners be called the Silicon Valley 49ers by now?

That the 49ers are moving to make money is abundantly clear — back when it was still being called the “No Name Yet Stadium” in local coverage, the “most expensive 1,000 seats in No Name Yet Stadium will cost $375 per game — plus $80,000 for a life-of-the-stadium license to buy that one seat,” and those seats were almost sold out in 2012, per The SF Gate. The team had tried repeatedly to build a new arena but ultimately decided to relocate after a bid for the Olympics fell through, which, speaking cynically, would have meant that the organization might have had to pay for at least part of a new arena rather than the public.

The Raiders, who have another year on their lease, have reportedly looking into building a new stadium in Oakland, but could feasibly jump ship to the Levi Stadium and turn the two franchises into the West Coast version of the Giants and the Jets, who also share a stadium. The Levi’s Stadium had a price tag of $1.2 billion, according to ESPN. The cheap seats for Niners games will run a reported $325 a head, plus a licensing fee of ‘only’ $20,000, which might seem downright inexpensive to the tech bubble, but is inevitably going to price out more financially pressed fans. Not that the Niners, or the NFL, are particularly worried about that.