Entering their final season at Candlestick Park, the San Francisco 49ers announced Wednesday that the team has sold out season tickets for 2013.
The stadium first hosted NFL games in 1960, when the Raiders used it for their final three home games of the regular season and their entire 1961 home schedule. The venue on the western shores of San Francisco Bay has been the home of the 49ers since 1971, when the franchise moved to the multi-sport facility after spending more than two decades at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park.
Candlestick Park currently has the distinction of being the only NFL stadium that opened as a baseball-only facility before going through dramatic renovations to accommodate football. From 1971 until 1999, the 49ers shared the park with the San Francisco Giants.
Last season, the 49ers averaged 69,732 fans for their eight home games -- a 99.3 percent capacity for the year. The figure has remained constant for each of the last four regular seasons. In 2008, the 49ers averaged 67,512 fans per game in spite of a 7-9 record.
In 2014, the 49ers will move to a $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara that could host the Super Bowl in 2016. In late-May, NFL owners will choose between the Bay Area and Miami as the host for Super Bowl. The new stadium in Santa Clara may have an advantage because of South Florida's organizers' reluctance to agree to a host of financial rollbacks from the NFL.
Last month, the Santa Clara city council agreed to waive a 9.5 percent hotel tax for 350 NFL employees and the two participating teams, CSNBayArea.com reported. More than 75 percent of the seats for 49ers' regular season games in 2014 have already been sold, according to the team.
During the 49ers' final season at Candlestick Park, the team will celebrate its time at the stadium with a “Farewell to Candlestick,” campaign that will include the Top 10 moments at the venue. The stadium is home to Dwight Clark's game-winning touchdown in the 1981 NFC Championship against the Cowboys on a play that has been immortalized as “The Catch,” (at 11:50).
In 1999, Steve Young connected with Terrell Owens on a 25-yard touchdown in between four defenders to lift the 49ers to a 30-27 NFC Wild Card victory over the Packers. The play is commonly known in the Bay Area as “The Catch II.” Four seasons later, the 49ers rallied from a 38-14 deficit to defeat the Giants 39-38 in the 2002 NFC Wild Card round. The game ended famously on a botched snap by the Giants during a game-winning field goal attempt.
“As long as you live you might never see a game better than that,” said former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci following the game.
Candlestick Park is slated to be demolished following the 49ers' 2013 season.
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