For around a century, the Big Game between the Stanford Cardinal and California Golden Bears has been played in one of the school’s stadiums.
That will change next year. The San Francisco 49ers and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority have put forth a proposal to move the 2014 Big Game from Memorial Stadium, home of the Bears, to the new Levi’s Stadium, the future home of the 49ers.
However, this has drawn the ire of many Bears’ fans, who were looking forward to hosting the game.
“I really hope there’s a good explanation for why we would have to surrender a traditional home game that means so much to our fans, our alums and our students, especially when we’ve just finished renovating our stadium,” Nadesan Permaul, the former president of the Cal Alumni Association, told the Chronicle. “I think fans would accept it if they understood. Otherwise, it’s going to be a big disappointment.”
Steve Grealish, who played football for Cal in 1973, had this to say, via the San Jose Mercury News: “I’m disgusted. Coupled with the 7:30 starting time of the (season-opening) Northwestern game, it shows disregard for the fan who has been showing up to the games for 40, 50 years. They’re making it all for couch potatoes. I like our stadium. We put all that money in it, and I’d like to play the game here.”
Conversely, on the farm, Stanford supports the idea, since they won’t be hosting the Big Game that year anyway, and Santa Clara is closer to Stanford than Berkeley.
“If that comes to fruition, which it looks like it might, I think that would be great,” head coach David Shaw told the Chronicle . “It would be awesome. It would be a great experience for our players to play in a venue like that.
“The stadium is going to be phenomenal, and I appreciate the 49ers loaning that out to us. I think it would be great for the Bay Area, and for both Stanford and Cal.”
Levi’s Stadium, which is expected to open next year, cost $1.2 billion and has a capacity of 68,500. If approved, this would be the first college football game to be played at the new stadium.