NFL

The 49ers’ Candlestick Park Once Had the ‘Smartest Marketing Promo’ in All of Sports

Candlestick Park was once home to NFL and MLB teams, with many notable events taking place within the confines of the famous San Francisco stadium. With its former tenants now playing in newer stadiums, Candlestick Park was abandoned and then demolished.

Even in its prime, Candlestick wasn’t ranked among the best sports stadiums, but the venue did have one of the smartest marketing promos in sports. It ensured people would regularly go to events at the venue.

Candlestick Park’s illustrious history

Construction on Candlestick Park began in August 1958. The intention of the stadium was to become the home of the New York Giants when they moved to San Francisco. At $15 million, construction finished in time for the now-San Francisco Giants to play their first game there in April 1960.

The Oakland Raiders, who were in the AFL at the time, made Candlestick their part-time home during the ’60 and ’61 seasons, before the NFL’s 49ers made Candlestick their home in 1971. The 1999 MLB season was the Giants’ final campaign at Candlestick. The 49ers played their home games there through the 2013 NFL season.

Notable events at Candlestick Park

Hosting baseball and football teams for over 50 years, Candlestick was home to many notable events. The Beatles played Candlestick during the iconic band’s U.S. tour in 1966. This ended up being their final full public concert. The Rolling Stones played in front of 135,000 fans on back-to-back nights in 1981.

Jimmy Buffett and Metallica also played at the venue. The final concert and event at Candlestick was a Paul McCartney concert in August 2014. MLB held two All-Star Games at the stadium. The Giants played six postseason series there, including two World Series, in 1962 and 1989.

The 49ers played eight NFC Championship games at Candlestick Park between 1982 and 2012. Candlestick was originally slated to host Super Bowl XXXIII. But, when the needed renovations were not made the game, Miami got it instead.

Abandonment and demolition

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When the 49ers left Candlestick to move to Levi’s Stadium, the venue didn’t have any permanent tenants remaining and demolition was Candlestick’s inevitable fate. Demolition began less than a year after McCartney’s show, and it was completed in September 2015.

Developers originally announced plans to use the land to create a dense urban outlet center as Candlestick’s replacement, but the plans never came to fruition and the project was suspended in 2018.

The stadium’s smart marketing promotion

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Due to its location on the water, San Francisco tends to be cool year-round. Attending night games at Candlestick wasn’t always something fans looked forward to. So, in 1983, the Giants came up with a promotion to encourage fans to attend. Whenever a night game went to extra innings, the team gave away a Croix de Candlestick pin to fans who stuck around.

The pin, which fans got by redeeming their ticket stub at a stationery store, featured the Latin phrase “Veni, Vidi, Vixi,” which translates to “I came, I saw, I survived.” The pin was given out after extra-inning games for years. During the Giants’ final Candlestick Park homestand in 1999, tens of thousands of fans got the pin during the team’s final three-game series against the archrival Dodgers.

A San Francisco Chronicle columnist once wrote that the pin “may be the smartest marketing promotional in Bay Area history.” Fans who have them may want to keep them safe; stadium giveaways can be worth big bucks.