49ers opens Santa Clara preview center

September 27, 2011 7:06:16 PM PDT
The 49ers' are betting on a new effort to help bring in millions of dollars for the new stadium in Santa Clara. Prospective luxury suits and season ticket holders can get a feel for what they're buying by looking at a preview center.

The team's Super Bowl trophies are normally kept at the 49rs' Santa Clara headquarters, but now they have a new home at the stadium preview center. The 7,000-square foot, $2.5 million center lets prospective luxury suite buyers come in and see a life-size mock-up of what they'd be investing in. It is complete with a simulated look at that particular suite's view of the field.

So far the team has sold $173 million worth of luxury suites, but that's still a long way from the $987 million total stadium price tag.

"We will be open in time for the 2015 season. So in order to achieve that, there's a certain number of milestones that we need to hit and we've tracked exactly along what we wanted to," said 49ers chief operating officer Paraag Marathe.

The preview center's entrance is a walk through the team's history, leading to its future. It has an interactive experience worthy of its Silicon Valley address. The center opened in November, by invitation-only, to current box owners.

"Any customer can come through and go through the whole presentation or any area in the building, and you'll notice the model lit up. It lights up in 200 different areas," said Al Guido from Legends Hospitality Management.

"When not just suite holders, but fans, when corporate partners get to come here, this is where it comes to life. This is where they get to say, 'OK, I know what you were talking about now. I see it,'" said Marathe.

An interactive screen shows the stadium's 13 entrance and exit points -- as compared with Candlestick's two. A mini JumboTron perches on the model and season ticket holders can get the same simulated sightline experience as the luxury suite fans. Former 49ers general manager John McVay is sold.

"I'm terribly impressed. It's just beautiful, it's fantastic, and it's been a long time coming," said McVay.

Season ticket holders will get their chance to take a look starting in January.


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