The first 49ers playoff game to be hosted at Levi’s Stadium — a divisional matchup between the 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings — will affect more than the team; it will likely be a windfall for local businesses as well.
Levi’s Stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 in 2016, but it was not a game in which the 49ers participated. Team management estimates roughly 70,000 people will be in attendance for Saturday’s gridiron showdown. If those numbers prove accurate, it would be the largest home-crowd turnout in the 49ers’ 73-year history.
Hotels have already seen an uptick in booking. The Marriott, 2700 Mission College Blvd., has been booked since at least the start of the year; rooms at the Hyatt, 5101 Great America Pkwy., around the same time ranged between $350 and $450/night. Rooms in all the hotels near Levi’s Stadium have since sold out.
Santa Clara Council Member Teresa O’Neill has previously said, “if people come and spend a lot of money,” the impact to Santa Clara could be “in the millions.”
Restaurants, too, are expecting a revenue boost.
David Ebrahimi, owner of David’s Restaurant, which is located directly across the street from the stadium, said he expects a 25 percent increase in business as compared to a normal home game.
“We are hoping it will be like a mini Super Bowl,” he said.
Gordon Kalinic, Director of Operations Bourbon Steak & Bourbon Pub, said a playoff game such as this is a “perfect scenario to drive business results.”
With offerings such as a seafood station and smoker station and specially crafted cocktails — such as a take on the Moscow Mule made with whiskey called a Golden Mule — Kalinic said turn-out should be good.
“Everybody wants to be part of the winning team,” he said. “It is a great economic impact for the restaurant.”
The true economic impact of the game is hard to calculate. While a study commissioned by Super Bowl 50 host committee showed it generated $249 million for the Bay Area, it did not delineate by city. Although Saturday’s game will likely be similar in scope, Super Bowl 50 saw various events in a week-long celebration, making an apples-to-apples comparison nearly impossible.
Dan Funk, a sports economist at Temple University in Philadelphia, said economic “impact” differs from economic “activity.”
“Local dollars should never count in economic impact analysis,” said Funk. “If I fly from Philadelphia, that’s all new money. If travelers spend a dollar, that’s a new dollar in the economy, and that’s going to have an impact and ripple effect, like throwing a rock in a pond.”
Complicating matters is the concept of “leakage” — i.e., new spending in areas other than the event’s locale.
“Calculation of impacts is straightforward if you’re talking about an isolated economy. But when you have interconnected economies, there’s a lot of leakage,” Funk said.
The Santa Clara City Council had previously criticized the Forty-Niners Management Company (ManCo) for not booking events leading up to the game in Santa Clara, instead placing most of those events in San Jose and San Francisco.
Alex Chang, Chief Marketing Officer for the 49ers, said events adjacent to games at Levi’s are booked based on venue availability.
“We don’t make choices like that to antagonize the Council,” Jim Mercurio, General Manager of Levi’s Stadium, said. “We do all we can to take the high road.”
Mercurio would not comment on whether the game will require an increase in security, saying it would “give the bad guys the answers to the test.”
A spike in room occupancy at area hotels will likely see the City’s coffers swell as well.
Lenka Wright, Director of Communications for the City, said just how much money the City stands to gain from the tourism improvement district (TID) surcharge — a rake the City takes from each hotel room rented — is unknown.
Historically, Wright wrote in an email, the City doesn’t track event-specific TID and “cannot assume that all hotel rooms being booked for a certain week/weekend are due to a singular event.” However, she wrote, with the formation of the City’s new Destination Marketing Organization, and help from Spectra, the Convention Center operator, the City has the “opportunity to begin tracking this information in the near future.”
Parking lots at Levi’s Stadium, 4900 Marie P DeBartolo Way, open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday; the main gates open at 11:30 a.m.