819 days after the groundbreaking event that was also produced by e2k, the 49ers, Santa Clara Stadium Authority and City of Santa Clara celebrated the official opening of Levi’s® Stadium with an unforgettable ribbon cutting ceremony.
Leaders from the football franchise, as well as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and local elected leaders were flanked by more than 1,000 construction workers as the ribbons were cut to fanfare and confetti. Moments before, e2k staff led the workers — who were wearing white T-shirts that read, “I Built Levi’s® Stadium” — down red carpeted stairs in Dignity Health Plaza. The seated audience of dignitaries, business owners, 49ers employees, sponsorship partners and media rose in a standing ovation.
Jed York, the 49ers CEO, opened the ceremony by discussing the people and events that brought California its first new NFL stadium since 1967. “You deserve to have the best stadium in the world,” he told 49ers fans. “Now you have it.” Goodell, in his ceremony comments, told York, “Jed, you have every reason to be emotional today.”
Other speakers included Levi Strauss & Company CEO Chip Burgh, 49ers commentators Ted Robinson and Tim Ryan, and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews.
Following the ribbon cutting, guests were treated to stadium tours and food and wine receptions throughout the venue, with commemorative ribbon cutting photo ops overlooking the field.
Grand Opening Gala
Two days after the ribbon cutting ceremony, e2k produced a black-tie Grand Opening Gala for 49ers players, coaches, employees, dignitaries and sponsors.
Avante garde jazz ensemble, Black Violin, performed at the entrance where guests sipped champagne and posed for photos on the red carpet.
The star-studded event featured gourmet catering, behind-the-scenes tours of the locker rooms and owners suites, and a glamorous lounge and dance floor built over the 50 yard line. Guests were treated to a 90-minute set from Grammy Award-winning artist John Legend, and danced the night away with DJ Amy Robbins and DJ Matteo.
49ers Museum and Art Openings
Amongst the other stadium launch celebrations, e2k produced two smaller, yet glamorous events to open the 49ers Museum, presented by Sony, and a showcase of the impressive original art collection on display in stadium clubs, suites and lounges.
The Museum Opening featured a ceremonies unveiling of the 49ers Hall of Fame. e2k directed the proceedings as bronze casts of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott and a dozen more timeless star players and coaches were displayed for the first time to the public and the players, themselves. Event attendees were treated to private viewings of the 49ers museum many offerings, gourmet food and wine, and an energetic performance by a jug band. Everyone went home with a commemorative San Francisco 49ers-etched metal cup.
Levi’s® Stadium is home to more than 200 original artworks and 500 photographs, and the Art Opening allowed the 23 artists, their families, and the press to see the works in situ for the first time.
The collection was curated in partnership with Tracie Speca-Ventura of Sports & the Arts (SATA), who spoke at the opening alongside 49ers Vice President of Marketing, Alison Towle. “I hope it will be surprising to people that the stadium experience isn’t just about technology, but will be about a higher-level experience overall,” said Towle.
Inaugural Season Home Opener
Capping the whirlwind of grand opening events was the 49ers Inaugural Season Home Opener prime-time game against the Chicago Bears.
The nation’s eyes were focused on the team’s new high-tech stadium in its new Silicon Valley home. Despite more than four decades of game entertainment production for the 49ers, e2k was also learning how to operate in the new digs.
The pregame ceremony drew a standing ovation as nine Niners Hall of Famers, including Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, lined up on the sideline to christen the new stadium. Rice became the first VIP to blow the stadium foghorn, an e2k-started tradition signifying the start of the action.
Fireworks adorned the players’ introductions, who entered through an LED wall tunnel lined with Gold Rush cheerleaders and two flame towers.
Hundreds of Boy Scouts unfurled a giant American flag across the field during the national anthem, which was performed by local rocker Pat Moynahan of Train. Fans in the lower bowl contributed with a red, white and blue card stunt that created a 360° American flag experience stretching from end zone to end zone.
At halftime, rap superstar Snoop Dogg, clad in a No. 5 “Coach Snoop” 49ers jersey, played a surprise concert with an ensemble of e2k-choreographed dancers, fireworks and high-powered spotlights.