I don’t think,with any doubt in my mind,that the “bandwagon” of 49ers fans is falling apart. Aside from the empty seats at Levi’s Stadium to the lack of success the team has had in the 2015 NFL season, this is not a fan base that is even close to going away.
Contrary to what’s believed to be a bandwagon fanbase since the 2011 season, the 49ers have always had loyal fans. Candlestick Park was selling out every game even during the years where they were terrible. People love this team.
Well,let’s take a look at this. First off,it’s in Santa Clara,about 40 miles way from where Candlestick Park once stood. They’ve moved about an hour south of where they once were. So let’s say you’re a fan traveling to the game from Sacramento or Stockton, that’s an extra hour to an hour and a half of travel time, not to mention, getting into the stadium has been trouble in itself as far as parking and getting into watch the game. Basically,if you’re heading down for a 1:05 p.m. kickoff from where I live in suburban Sacramento, you basically have to leave at 7 or 7:30 a.m., all to watch a bad team play in an overpriced stadium.
That’s another aspect of all this: cost. Newer stadiums tend to price out the fans that were coming to the games at the old stadium at more expense and that was no different with Levi’s Stadium. Many of the fans who went to Candlestick aren’t so quick to come to the new stadium because of the cost as well as the product on the field and the degree of difficulty of getting there in the first place.
Sunday’s game against the Bengals saw much of the stadium empty at kickoff,but when the game got going,it was much more full. However, a stadium with 30-35,000 people isn’t nearly a capacity crowd. Did you know that the 49ers have the highest ticket resales in the NFL? Why do you think that is?
Overall,I think it’s because fans aren’t willing to spend top dollar on watching a bad team play bad football. I think if the team was willing to be a competitive team like they were prior to this season, then fans would overlook the time it takes to get to the stadium and even the cost of going to the game. They also don’t want to give in to an owner who,while telling people to hold him accountable, has turned a blind eye to the situation regarding how bad the team is now and how far they’ve fallen since their appearance in Super Bowl XLVII.
I’ve been hard on the 49ers fanbase for being bandwagoners and looking back there wasn’t a need for me to make such comments. What makes me feel bad is that this loyal fanbase has basically nothing to cheer for. When your quarterback is Blaine Gabbert and your tailback is Shaun Draughn and your best tight end got traded to Denver and is shitting the bed there, not to mention all the guys who retired in lieu of wishing to play another down in San Francisco and you’ve got a recipe for disappointment.
The no-shows to me say more about how much ownership and management have dismantled this team more than it does the fanbase who is all the wiser for choosing to spend their money on something other than a 4-10 team with little hope for the future.
I’m sure a lot of fans also feel like they were duped into thinking the good times that filled Candlestick Park in its last years would carryover to the new place and that hasn’t happened and as a result Levi’s Stadium’s first playoff game will be Super Bowl L with two other teams competing for the title.Sure, it’s good to stand by your team through the good and bad, it actually gives you character, but doing that doesn’t require you to be in attendance on Sunday. Bravo to the 49ers fanbase for recognizing that!