In 2006, the 49ers proposed constructing a new stadium at Candlestick Point in San Francisco, the site of their erstwhile home, Candlestick Park. The project, which included plans for retail space and housing improvements, was claimed to be of great potential benefit to the nearby historically blighted neighborhood of Hunters Point. After negotiations with the city of San Francisco fell through, the 49ers focused their attention on a site adjacent to their administrative offices and training facility in Santa Clara.
In June 2010, Santa Clara voters approved a measure authorizing the creation of the tax-exempt Santa Clara Stadium Authority to build and own the new football stadium and for the city to lease land to the authority. A construction loan raised from private investors was secured in December 2011, allowing construction to start in April 2012. Levi's Stadium opened on July 17, 2014.
Levi's Stadium was the site of the Pac-12 Football Championship Game from 2014 through 2019 before moving to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Previously, that game was played on the home field of the division winner possessing the better record. Levi's Stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016. It also hosted the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Levi's Stadium is designed as an open stadium with a natural grass field. It has a seating capacity of 68,500, expandable to approximately 75,000 to host major events like the Super Bowl and the FIFA World Cup. However, on June 27, 2015, The Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Tour made history by extending the stadium to 83,000 in attendance. The seating design of the stadium places approximately two-thirds of the fans in the lower bowl, which is one of the largest of its kind in the entire NFL. The design features significantly improved accessibility and seating options for fans with special needs and disabilities when compared to the 49ers former home, the now-demolished Candlestick Park. The configuration is similar to Ford Field, home of the NFL's Detroit Lions, with the majority of the luxury suites on one side of the field, which puts the fans in the upper deck closer to the action.
As a multi-use facility, the stadium can be configured for special touring events including concerts, motocross events, indoor/outdoor conferences, and other community events. The stadium is also designed to meet the FIFA field geometry requirements for international soccer, which will allow it to host international friendly matches and major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup. The stadium will also feature over 109,000 square feet of flexible premium meeting space in the club areas.