Tag Archives: Sports

Game on for San Jose Earthquakes’ stadium project… again

The Major League Soccer San Jose Earthquakes’ oft-delayed stadium project reached a key milestone this week after the team recently announced a one-year delay on the project.

The Quakes began pouring the concrete foundation for the new stadium on Friday, representing a symbolic moment for both the team and the project. Take a look at their stadium webcam or check out a construction site video on the team’s blog.

This is a positive step for the team, but this project reminds me of a memorable scene from Wayne’s World.

 

Levi’s Stadium: 10 biggest improvements over Candlestick

The San Francisco 49ers began their final season at Candlestick Park two weeks ago with a win over the Packers, but the team and fans are counting the days before making a move to their new stadium, Levi’s Stadium. That’s 283 days to be exact, according to the countdown clock at Levi’s Stadium. Much like AT&T Park was to San Francisco Giants fans when they left the Stick in 2000, the 49ers are hoping Levi’s Stadium is a welcome jolt for fans and the franchise.

Candlestick is the NFL’s third oldest stadium, but it’s not in the same class as baseball’s treasures, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. Built in 1960 for the Giants and expanded for the 49ers in 1971, the cold, grey Stick is more like the prize in a McDonald’s Happy Meal. But for me, it was always a bummer when my mom threw away my Happy Meal prize.

I have decades of great memories from the Stick, even though I was dressed in every article of clothing I could carry with me to keep warm. The stadium itself was drab, but Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Bill Walsh, Steve Young and countless others made it relevant.

Many fans have mixed emotions about the team’s departure from San Francisco to Santa Clara. Most are fixated on the 32 extra miles they’ll have to drive. Based on everything reported about Levi’s Stadium, the added commute will be well worth it.

With construction on Levi’s Stadium over halfway complete, here’s a list of the biggest improvements Levi’s Stadium will give the 49ers faithful:

Main concourse LevisOpen design – For those finding it difficult to let go of Candlestick Park, Levi’s Stadium’s spacious concourses may be the most refreshing aspect. Think about this – its 68,500 seats are slightly fewer seats than Candlestick, but Levi’s Stadium is twice the size. That’s a lot of extra room to stretch out and enjoy the stadium experience. Fans will be able to stroll the stadium and watch the game wherever they are when grabbing food in the main level concourse.

Connectivity – Older stadiums tend to have lousy cell or Wi-Fi coverage. Levi’s Stadium, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, will be wired to the hilt. Fans will enjoy stadium-wide Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity hotspots. The 49ers will even have an in-stadium app to allow fans to find the shortest beer, food and bathroom lines.

Video boards – Candlestick has one video scoreboard, and a large chunk of the stadium sits above that scoreboard. I sat in those seats too many days and had to forget about watching replays until I got home. Levi’s Stadium will have massive HD screens on both ends of the stadium, totaling over 13,000 square feet.

Field – National broadcasters have continually complained about Candlestick’s soggy field. The new grass field equipped with the latest drainage system will no doubt be a vast improvement. Levi’s is no multipurpose stadium either. It’s dedicated to the 49ers and cannot even accommodate a soccer match (concerts, yes).

Weather – Candlestick Point on San Francisco Bay is notoriously windy and the North Bay tends to get more fog. While fog is less of a problem during the NFL season, Santa Clara temperatures are on average 5 to 8 degrees warmer than San Francisco and it receives far less of the fog. Fans should be able to leave their parkas at home more often.

Hall of Fame – The new 49ers Hall of Fame built next to Levi’s Stadium will open at the same time to honor the greatest players, coaches, and moments in franchise history.

Tailgating – I’m not sure you can call this an improvement, but I wanted to reassure the 49er faithful there would be ample parking lot space to hold your wine and cheese-filled tailgate parties.

Fan Safety – Santa Clara has its share of crummy neighborhoods, but driving through Hunter’s Point near Candlestick day or night reminded me of driving in a Grand Theft Auto game. Fans should have a much easier and safer time getting to and from Levi’s.

Double Header – You can go to California’s Great America theme Park and a 49ers game in one day. Great America sits across the street from Great America.

What did I miss? Leave a comment below.

Check out the Levi’s Stadium live web cam.

Photos credit: San Francisco 49ers

Nebraska’s New East Stadium Houses Brain Research Center

The University of Nebraska expanded Memorial Stadium this season to over 92,000 seats, but the stadium’s most impressive additions will benefit more than just the Cornhusker faithful.

Brain research, University of NebraskaIn a collaboration between Nebraska’s athletic and academic arms, the privately funded $63.5 million East Stadium houses the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior to study, prevent, and treat the effects of brain injuries. This state-of-the-art facility, which supports both the Big 10 and Ivy League, is testing the use of an electrode-covered mesh cap that would allow athletic medical staff to analyze a player’s brain waves on-site and determine within minutes the severity of an injury and whether they can return to the game. The center will also benefit the research of non-sports related brain injuries.

In addition, Nebraska created a 50,000-square-foot Athletic Performance Lab to help school athletes with strength training, treatment and rehabilitation. Recruiting tours now start in the Lab, which features a synthetic track embedded with “force plates” and surrounded by motion capture cameras that together measure impact and help athletes visualize and improve performance.

Built atop the existing structure, the new East Stadium adds 6000 seats and 38 suites. To gain a sense for just how nuts Nebraska fans are for the Cornhuskers – this season marks the first time non-premium season tickets have been available to the general public between the 20-yard lines since the stadium was built 90 years ago.

While fans will enjoy the spacious new concourse and seating options, you have to appreciate Nebraska’s investment in helping to solve an issue facing not only collegiate sports, but society at large.

Here’s a video featuring a dedication ceremony for the new facility.

Photo credit: University of Nebraska Athletic Department

San Jose Earthquakes stadium delayed until 2015

The Major League Soccer San Jose Earthquakes suffered another setback today with their new stadium construction that will push back the opening one year.

The Earthquakes had hoped to move to their new 18,000-seat stadium for the 2014 season. As I’ve written before, the Earthquakes’ snakebitten construction project hit delays in July when workers uncovered large concrete bunkers during demolition. Now the team has cited unexpected complexities in connecting the stadium to San Jose’s sewer system.  This team cannot catch a break.

I expect the Quakes will continue to play in their current home, Buck Shaw Stadium, as they await progress on their stadium. Not great news for a team that continues to slip down the table in the Western Conference. Happy Friday the 13th Earthquakes fans.

Beer Foam keeps Dodger Stadium beers cold

The MLB Los Angeles Dodgers introduced an exceptional solution to combat Warm Beer Syndrome, a condition that strikes sports fans across the world on hot days.

Beer foam, created by Japanese beer maker Kirin, acts as a lid and keeps beer cold longer while fans soak up the Southern California sun at Dodger Stadium. Dispensed like soft-serve ice cream, beer foam is swirled atop beers before fans head back to their seats.

Something tells me beer foam will be begin making appearances in Major League Ballparks and stadiums across the world soon.

Arigatou Kirin!

Here’s a video featuring Beer Foam, courtesy of Food Beast.