49ers can't play Monday night or Thursday night games in their new stadium
The city of Santa Clara will not allow the additional weeknight traffic of Monday night and Thursday night NFL games. They may change their mind eventually, as city officials will revisit the idea next year after putting more thought into logistics, parking and public safety. But this is the kind of thing you typically try to work out in advance before uprooting an NFL franchise and placing it in a smaller little town.
The San Jose Mercury News' Mike Rosenberg breaks the bombshell story that the 49ers new stadium cannot host Monday night or Thursday night games. "All of the San Francisco 49ers home games will be on Sundays next year when the team moves to its new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, sources close to the stadium project say."
The Niners might -- might -- get weeknight games in 2015 and beyond. "Once local officials have a season to work out the kinks of the traffic, parking and public safety plans at the new stadium, the 49ers are expected to ask for Monday Night Football games in 2015 and beyond," Rosenberg writes.
Santa Clara, you see, is a much smaller town than San Francisco, where the 49ers currently play in Candlestick Park. Santa Clara has less than half the square mileage of San Francisco, and only about one-seventh of the population of San Francisco according to 2010 US Census data. Simply put, Santa Clara has nowhere near the civic infrastructure that San Francisco offers.
That's why Santa Clara officials won't allow Monday night or Thursday night games. Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football both begin at around 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time -- at the height of the weeknight rush hour. City officials fear that the additional 70,000 rush hour commuters will cause serious traffic and safety concerns.
The 49ers can still play Monday night and Thursday night games, but they'll have to be away games. Weeknight games will not be allowed at Levi's Stadium in 2014.
Santa Clara officials can reconsider weeknight games next year. But there's no guarantee they will agree, and there is a high likelihood the 49ers will have to write a sizable check to the city just to have weeknight games like normal NFL teams do.
If you're getting nostalgic about The Stick, the 49ers will play their final game at Candlestick Park on Monday, December 23 against the Atlanta Falcons. Yes, Santa Clara, it will be a Monday Night Football game.