Anyone who was hoping for some Monday Night Football from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara next season is in for some disappointment.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Thursday, citing sources close to the project, that all of the San Francisco 49ers home games next season will be played on Sunday.
The 49ers are moving to the Santa Clara facility in 2014.
The $1.3 billion stadium seems a natural to be featured in prime time, but local officials fear the impact of a Monday night game on rush hour traffic, what with 70,000 fans heading to Santa Clara for a 5:40 p.m. kickoff.
It is hoped, however, that the stadium can get a prime time appearance on Sunday Night Football next season. The NFL likes to hype its new stadiums and, well, the league has 200 million reasons (as in the $200 million the NFL kicked in to financial the facility) to want to show it off.
Levi’s Stadium will also host Super Bowl L in February 2016.
Officials in Santa Clara and the Silicon Valley want to have some time to assess and correct whatever traffic issues may stem from the new stadium and the 49ers are expected to be considered for Monday Night Football beginning in 2015.
The 49ers will be on prime time the maximum five times this season, capped by the Candlestick Park finale against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, Dec. 23.
With every team playing one Thursday night game, the 49ers are assured that one will be on the road in 2014 and leaves the possibility of up to four more Sunday or Monday night games—more if the team is flexed into prime time on Sunday late in the season.
Monday night road games are tough on teams because it cuts a day of preparation from the following week’s game, a situation the 49ers will face this week when they go to Washington on Monday night and then have to fly cross-country to prepare for the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick on Dec. 1.
Frequent flying is nothing new for the club—thanks to their trip to London last month, the 49ers will lead the NFL in travel this year at 32,948 miles.